Published Wed, 2010-12-08 16:02; updated 4 years ago.

A patient has described how she almost died in Stafford General Hospital after twice contracting MRSA during several stays in the hospital over a four year period.

Mrs Nicola Monte was giving evidence on Day 18 of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry at Stafford Borough Council.

The mother-of-two, who even spent one eight month period in the hospital, told the inquiry that she was concerned about levels of hygiene from the time of her first admission in July 2004, when she was suffering from a bowel complaint.

Mrs Monte said she was concerned about cross-infection after claiming that various patients’ stool samples were left uncollected.

She said it was during this first admission that she contracted MRSA, C.difficile and e-coli.

After being discharged in August 2004, Mrs Monte, who was diagnosed as having Crohn’s disease, was readmitted shortly afterwards as an emergency following a bowel rupture.

But she said that following an emergency operation, she was found to have “full-blown” blood MRSA which had resulted in a large abscess on her back.

Mrs Monte said: “It was just invading the whole of my body, really. It was going into my bones. And at one point the sepsis went to my brain and I ended up in intensive care again, because of that situation.

“And I was in there for a while, I think a couple of weeks, and I know that my family begged the surgeon to keep me in there because they could see the marked difference in the standards of cleanliness and care there.”

She added: “Yes, I had a problem but it was exacerbated by the hospital. Somehow I'd got through the many disasters. Somehow I'd survived.”

Mrs Monte told the inquiry that she later rejected an apology from Martin Yeates, the then chief executive of the Mid Staffordshire Trust, who stood down from his post last year.

She said: “If that man wanted to apologise to me he could have come down on to the ward and apologised to me personally.

“I think ultimately for me, by hook or by crook, I was still alive and I needed to rebuild my life. Gain back a bond with my daughter and my son and try and get on with life for them, really, and try and move on from it.”

But Mrs Monte, who pursued a complaint to the Healthcare Commission, was full of praise for the new chief executive, Antony Sumara.

“From what I've seen and from what I've heard, he seems a very good guy that's trying very hard to be like a front-line man, if you like.”

She said that in the past, and to a degree even now, the trust, the board and the chief executive had lost touch with what was really happening in the hospital.

But she added: “Mr Sumara is making headway into that. He comes across as a person that gets involved, that makes it his business, that he's down on the shop floor, and, you know, he's trying to get a grip of what the real feeling is of what's going on and the experience patients are having.”