AN injection in the wrong eye, a pregnant woman who wasn’t told she had hepatitis C for seven months and an insulin overdose, are among the 66 serious incidents reported in hospitals across Essex in May and June.
A patient also committed suicide following surgery and another was invited to a cancer well-being event, despite not having been formally diagnosed with the disease at the time.
Details of the incidents were published in a joint-clinical commissioning group report released ahead of a meeting on Friday.
The five most serious incidents, categorised as ‘never events’, took place in hospitals operated by Basildon and Thurrock University NHS Foundation Trust (BTUH) and the Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust (MEHT).
There were no never events in hospitals operated by the Southend University Hospitals Foundation Trust but there were several serious incidents, including a patient permanently losing their sight due to a delay in getting an appointment.
Two of the never events that occured under the BTUH involved medical staff failing to properly administer medication resulting in one patient being given an overdose of insulin and another having an oral painkiller injected through a canula.
Another patient was connected to an air supply rather than an oxygen supply. Oxygen is commonly used for heart or lung conditions that cause low oxygen levels in a patient’s blood, while medical air supports breathing difficulties – confusing the two can in some instances result in a fatality.
Both the never events that occurred at MEHT hospitals involved errors made during surgery.
In one instance an incision was made into a patient’s finger incorrectly, despite the correct one being clearly marked and anaesthetised.
The other saw a patient being given an injection into the wrong eye after medical notes incorrectly indicated the right eye rather than the left, an error also made by the patient.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “The trust has offered a sincere apology to those involved and will ensure that rigorous investigations identify the root causes so that the systems and processes in place to deliver safe care can be strengthened.
“These never events were reported externally and are currently under investigation. The patients involved in these incidents have received an apology from the Trust and have been kept informed about the investigation process.
“Once the investigations have been completed, the patients will be invited for a meeting where the investigation findings and the lessons learned can be shared.
“MEHT encourages all staff to report near miss events and incidents in order to allow lessons to be learnt.”
The Basildon and Thurrock trust said they strive to provide high quality care and encourage staff to report issues as quickly as possible so that they can be investigated. They also confirmed that investigations into the incidents highlighted in the report are underway.