Saturday, April 13, 2024

Wrong body parts operated on a string of surgical errors

A STRING of surgical errors at south Essex hospitals have been revealed including one incident where a cancer patient’s surgery was carried out on the wrong part of the body reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

A freedom of information request to the Mid and South Essex Hospital Trust – which manages Southend, Basildon and Broomfield hospitals – revealed a number of “never events” occurred between April 1 and December 31 last year.

Never events are classified as “preventable errors that should never be made”.

In one incident, a patient had a lumpectomy, a procedure to remove potentially cancerous cells at “the wrong site”. A lumpectomy is a type of breast cancer surgery in which the tumour and some amount of surrounding tissue is removed.

Having the procedure done at the wrong site at best could mean the cancerous cells were not removed properly, or at worst, a patient had surgery on the wrong breast entirely.

The FOI, requested by medical negligence solicitors, Blackwater Law, revealed there were also three separate incidents of patients having the wrong skin lesion removed.

Removing the wrong lesion could lead a patient to be exposed to a potentially cancerous lesion for longer than necessary.

In another incident a naso/gastric tube, used for feeding or other medications, was misplaced. This was not detected before the feed or medication was administered. Another incident saw a patient have anaesthetic administered to the wrong hip before surgery.

Jason Brady, partner and head of Blackwater Law said: “It is concerning to see the details of these never events. At Blackwater Law we see the impact that these incidents have, not just on the person affected, but also on their families. It is important to remember that behind each one of these events is an individual. They are the ones who must deal with the lasting impact of these incidents.”

The FOI did not specify which of the hospitals incidents occurred at.

Diane Sarkar, chief nursing and quality officer, Mid and South Essex NHS Trust, said: “We strive to provide high quality, safe and effective care. We encourage staff to report any incidents which occur within the trust, so we can investigate them fully and learn any lessons that can help us ensure that nothing similar happens.”

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