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Prince Charles Hospital Brisbane fungal cluster: Muhammad thought his life was on the up after a life-saving heart transplant, but within weeks, the hard-working GP was dead. He’s just one of a ‘cluster’ of Australians to suddenly fall ill and die

A grieving family is demanding answers after a much-loved GP and heart transplant patient became what is suspected to be the first casualty of a deadly fungal cluster at a major hospital.

Dr Muhammad Hussain, 55, was given a second chance at life when he received a heart transplant at Brisbane‘s Prince Charles Hospital in May however he quickly fell ill after the operation.

After months in and out of hospital he succumbed to multiple complications September 20 and appears to be the first fatality out of five transplant patients exposed to the fungal spores. 

Heart transplant patient Dr Muhammad Hussain (pictured left with daughter Muskaan) has died of complications stemming from a fungal infection

Heart transplant patient Dr Muhammad Hussain (pictured left with daughter Muskaan) has died of complications stemming from a fungal infection

It was reported this week that fellow heart transplant recipient Adam Retmock, 45, was also a victim of fungal infection leading to his death on Friday. 

Dr Hussain’s daughter Muskaan Hussain, 23, has demanded to know why hers and other families were not told of the fungal infection until the day it appeared in the media.

‘We were contacted by a doctor at the Prince Charles hospital hours before it was revealed in the media,’ she told Seven News.

She said the hospital’s communication ‘was lacking quite a bit’. 

‘I felt they weren’t as upfront as I would expect them to be,’ she said.

‘I feel like I still have a lot of questions.’

Ms Hussain said her father would be missed by hundreds of patients at his Moreton Bay practice in Mango Hill.

Mr Retmock’s family also said he only learnt of the potentially fatal infection while watching the news in hospital following his transplant and that he had not been told by his doctors. 

Muskaan Hussain said the hospital's communication to the family left a lot to be desired

Muskaan Hussain said the hospital’s communication to the family left a lot to be desired

‘He should have found out from the hospital because he was a very brave person,’ Ms Retmock said.

‘I would like for those other families still involved to be perhaps better communicated with and to have all the information laid out more clearly to them.

‘I’ll miss him forever.’

Queensland‘s opposition LNP zeroed in on state health minister Shannon Fentiman in parliament asking her why  those potentially exposed to fungus weren’t told by the hospital.

She said the transplant unit had assured her he had spoken directly with patients about the cluster, ‘and if that has not happened then I want to again really apologise’. 

It was reported by 7News that a high fungal reading was found in the area that stored equipment used to retrieve transplant organs, though this was not confirmed by the hospital.

Adam Retmock, 45, was one of five patients at The Prince Charles Hospital affected by the infection cluster and the second to have succumbed to the illness

Adam Retmock, 45, was one of five patients at The Prince Charles Hospital affected by the infection cluster and the second to have succumbed to the illness

A hospital spokesperson said reviews of the cases who acquired fungal infections were in their ‘early stages’.

‘Despite extensive testing, no link has been established between the fungal infections identified in the five heart transplant patients and the hospital,’ they said.

‘Transplant patients are some of our most vulnerable patients and can be susceptible to various illnesses and infections in the community, especially once they return home.’

All of the affected patients were placed on prophylactic antifungal treatment.

Early analysis has identified four different strains of fungal infection among the five patients, only one of which was the strain found at The Prince Charles Hospital.

One transplant patient with that strain remains in the hospital. 

Ms Hussain (pictured with her father Muhammad) said the hospital only alerted the family to the potential fungal infection hours before a media report

Ms Hussain (pictured with her father Muhammad) said the hospital only alerted the family to the potential fungal infection hours before a media report

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