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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Medical equipment left inside four hospital patients

Bungling hospital staff have left medical equipment inside patients four times in the past year.

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Jeremy Rushmer: ‘Safe, sustainable services’

Two of the incidents resulted in surgeons putting patients under the knife so the items could be removed.

The trust in charge of north Cumbria’s hospitals has insisted that a “significant” increase in its reporting of incidents is a positive thing, and reassured patients that it always investigates and learns from any incidents.

The figures emerged after two separate freedom of information requests submitted by the News & Star.

When asked how many items had been removed from patients during surgery within the past 12 months at north Cumbria hospitals, the trust revealed there had been two “foreign object retained incidents”.

These were: a laparoscopic port – used at the site of key hole surgery – discovered in the omentum (a section of membrane found within the stomach area); and a ribbon gauze, removed from the back of a patient’s throat.

No further details have been provided.

A separate request regarding the number of patients admitted to either the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle or Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital with objects inside them revealed two further medical mishaps.

There was one incident in July and one incident in August, both at the Cumberland Infirmary.

The first saw doctors remove a PEG or feeding tube from an “unspecified part” of the respiratory tract. A month later and emergency staff were called upon to salvage part of a stent which had been “accidentally left in body cavity or operation wound following a procedure”.

Jeremy Rushmer, medical director for North Cumbria University NHS Hospitals Trust, told the News & Star:“Our reporting of incidents has increased significantly which is a good thing as it means we can carry out a full investigation, embed learning and put in place safety improvements with our clinical teams to ensure high standards of care.

“After reviewing these incidents, we have implemented a number of improvements including reviewing clinical guidelines, developing a new formal handover process for patients between clinical teams and putting in place some changes to practice in theatres.”

He continued: “We hold a weekly review meeting of all incidents and we have held a surgery patient safety event to discuss the learning from incidents”

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