A father-of-two died from Legionnaires' disease caused by a dirty hospital shower head after being told by doctors that he had beaten cancer, an inquest heard yesterday.
Daryl Eyles, aged 37, died the day he was due to be discharged from the Royal United Hospital in Bath after months of chemotherapy for leukaemia.
The Bristol inquest heard how the security officer contracted the disease, which affects the water supply, after using a shower on the hospital ward where he was being treated.
Mr Eyles, from Whiteway, near Bath, contracted the disease during his fourth and final chemotherapy session in 2004.
Doctors had told him that he had achieved "complete remission" and should have made a full recovery.
He was admitted for treatment for a fever on January 19 but died of Legionnaires' disease one month later on February 13. A post-mortem revealed that Mr Eyles had traces of the legionella bug in his system.
This was traced to a shower head that was shared between 22 patients. The bug had been breeding in the shower head and both the hot and cold water tanks.
The inquest jury heard that the RUH had "very poor" methods for controlling legionella.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Susan Chivers, who was brought in to investigate Mr Eyles's death, told the court that Legionnaires' disease was a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.
She said: "Legionella control throughout the hospital was found to be very poor.
"There was no procedure for flushing out showers or descaling them and the hospital was using out-of-date risk assessment."
The court had earlier heard that a legionella risk assessment had been carried out in 2000, four years before Mr Eyles's death.
The RUH had commissioned a specialist environmental safety company to assess legionella risks in the hospital.
The firm's report found the water tanks to be a high priority with some not being properly covered which could allow debris and insects to drop in, allowing the legionella bug to feed and multiply.
Following the report, one of the water tanks was upgraded but the tank that fed into the William Budd ward where Mr Eyles was being treated was not.
RUH director of facilities Stephen Holt said a scheme to address the legionella risks identified in the external report had not been drawn up because the document was never placed before senior figures at the hospital.
RUH chief executive Mark Davies said: "We've accepted liability and we were deeply saddened and shocked by this event."