Jennifer McLoughlin, 43, is suing health chiefs over the problems she suffered while working at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Jennifer told how she feared she was dying after being struck down by an illness she blames on pigeons.
She claims birds nesting in the ceiling above her desk sparked weeks of severe breathing problems.
The mum of two was an admin worker in the neurological unit at the hospital in Glasgow when she started to feel ill.
Tests later blamed her issues on her “environment” — and the flagship health complex is now at the centre of an infection scandal linked to pigeon droppings.
Jennifer was horrified when a bug connected to the birds’ mess was this week confirmed as a factor in the death of a child patient — two years after she raised concerns about the £842million site.
She said: “I knew it was those birds making me ill. I could hear them over my head every day in our office.
“It started with a cough and then it just got worse and worse.
“After a few weeks I was in a horrendous state — I thought I was dying. I couldn’t breathe, I was in and out of hospital and calling ambulances to the house.
“I visited my GP at first then found myself having to go to the out of hours team.
“I would suffer violent coughing fits so bad that I fractured my rib during one of them.
“I was put on eight different types of steroids and inhalers. They ran loads of tests on me — I had X-rays, CT scans and a scope put down my throat.”
Jennifer, of Clydebank, added: “I told them about the pigeons at my workplace and they put it down to environmental issues.
“The birds managed to get in through the air vents and were above us.
“I’d complained loads of time but nothing was done.
“To think something could have been done to save that child — it’s just absolutely disgusting.”
Jennifer needed a month off work as she recovered and on her return demanded to be moved to another office.
Her bosses agreed, but she claims the superhospital didn’t do enough after she raised the alarm in April 2017.
5 QUESTIONS THAT NEED ANSWERED
1 Why didn’t health bosses or the Government alert the public earlier?
2 Would they have made the deaths and infection public had the media not pressed them?
3 Why does an £842m ‘superhospital’ not have adequate preventative measures against invading pigeons?
4 How did pigeon filth enter a closed ventilation system?
5 Are other hospitals being checked for pigeon problems?
She said: “I told them that I wasn’t working in that office again so they moved us. My health got better but I started looking for other jobs straight away, I couldn’t work there anymore.
“I think they knew deep down they were at fault because I was off ill for a month and those days weren’t even subtracted from my sick leave.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced a probe into the superhospital on Tuesday.
It came as she confirmed the cryptococcus infection — which can be breathed in from bird droppings — had been a factor in the death of the child in December.
Another elderly patient at the hospital who also had the infection died from an unrelated cause.
The likely source of the bug has been traced to a plant room. As details of two more infection cases emerged this week, Ms Freeman admitted the hospital “may not be fit for purpose”.
Jennifer, who lives with partner John Fenner, 46, and her children Georgia, nine, and seven-year-old Keenan, now works at the Golden Jubilee in Clydebank.
She went to her union for support after leaving the QEU then contacted Thompsons Solicitors.
They are helping take legal action against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, claiming her working environment was to blame for her health problems.
She said: “I’m suing them for how ill I was — my rib problem, all of the medication I had to take and how ill I was.
“Up until now they have been denying it — now they can’t hide any more. A child has died and who knows how many others have been affected.
“They should hang their heads in shame.”
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it was “unable to comment on this ongoing legal case”.
A spokesman for Thompsons Solicitors added: “We are very keen that the health board engage with us to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”
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