A scandal-hit health board has been accused of a lack of transparency over the source of an infection which a pensioner contracted at Glasgow’s super-hospital months before her death.

Mito Kaur, 63, passed away in March after becoming infected with the potentially-fatal fungus Mucoraceous mould while being treated at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) for pneumonia.

Last week, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said there was no evidence of the fungus in the hospital.

However, The Herald has uncovered documents which arguably contradict their claims – and confirm mould was apparently found during their experts’ investigations.

READ MORE: How Edinburgh and Glasgow's flagship hospitals were beset by scandal in 2019 

In a statement released to the media last Thursday, NHSGGC said there were “a number of areas inspected for sources of mould with nil found”.

However, their lead infection control doctor told the board in June that mould was growing from a dialysis point, and suggested either this, or fungus in the air supply, could be the source of infection.

During a Clinical Governance Committee meeting on June 11, Dr Teresa Inkster, then lead infection control doctor, briefed bosses on the investigation into the 63-year-old’s infection and said: “It is possible the dialysis point was the source as mould was grown from the area.

"No cases have been reported since January 18, 2019 and this source has been remedied. Alternatively this fungus is ubiquitous and may have been present in the air at the time.”

READ MORE: Jeane Freeman offers another chance to bosses at stricken health board 

Our sister paper, The Herald on Sunday, reported after Ms Kaur’s death that a dialysis machine in her room, which had not been fitted properly and was leaking behind a wall cavity, was suspected to be the source of the mould infection.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservatives health spokesman, said the revelations were “deeply concerning” and said: “Yet again we have another case of hospital-acquired infection at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and a total lack of transparency from the health board on the facts surrounding the case the potential source and testing undertaken.

“Families and NHS staff have lost confidence in [Health Secretary] Jeane Freeman and this SNP Government to provide full transparency and the leadership needed to address the crisis now engulfing what is meant to be Scotland’s flagship hospital.

“It’s time for the First Minister to take charge and step in to demonstrate the SNP Government are actually in control of the situation and ensure that the board provide transparency on what is happening at the hospital to actually provide assurances that wards are safe.”

READ MORE: Crown Office says death of grandmother with rare fungal infection was 'unavoidable' and caused by flu

Aamer Anwar, the lawyer representing the Kaur family, said they were “left devastated” by the 63-year-old’s death, and described her a “the rock of their family”.

He added: “When Mito was admitted to hospital her loved ones expected her to recover, yet a few days later her health rapidly deteriorated and her family were then told of a fungal infection.

“As a time they should have been spending precious moments with a woman who was the heart of their family, they were left fighting for answers.

“To date the family have been left grieving but with little or no answers.”

Mucormycosis is a rare and difficult to diagnose fungal disease with a very high mortality rate of 50 to 70 per cent, especially in patients with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes or weak immune systems.

It is usually caused by breathing in fungal spores. Without treatment, mucormycosis is quickly fatal, especially if it progresses to the nervous system.

Professor Oliver Cornely, head of the European Centre of Excellence for Invasive Fungal Infections who led the development of new global diagnosis and treatment guidelines which were published in November, said: “An operation must be carried out immediately and an intravenous anti-fungal therapy initiated in order to prevent the spread as quickly as possible.”

When asked to explain why they stated there was no mould found, contradicting the information by Dr Inkster which was agreed by the board in June, NHSGGC claims the comments were regarding a sample of mould taken from Ms Kaur.

According to NHSGGC, Ms Kaur’s death has not been linked to her infection, but was caused by “flu”.

A spokeswoman told The Herald: “The presence of mucoraceous mould referred to in the board meetings related to a positive sample taken from the patient.

“The Incident Management Team found no evidence of mucoraceous mould in the ward environment.”

Dr Inkster declined to comment when contacted by The Herald.

Last month NHSGGC was escalated to level four supervision following the series of infection-related scandals Health bosses have also launched legal action against lead private contractor for the hospital build, Brookfield Multiplex.