Thursday, 3 September 2009

{Scottish}Surgeons leave 300 instruments in the bodies of patients

SURGEONS left behind more than 300 instruments and pieces of equipment in patients' bodies in Scottish hospitals over the past five years.
Since 2004, at least 280 patients had to be re-admitted to hospitals to have "foreign objects" extracted from them, figures released by the Scottish Government have revealed.

While health boards have refused to release details of individual cases, most incidents are understood to have involved small items such as needles and swabs.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde reported the largest number of cases, with 70 patients going back to hospital after objects were left inside them. NHS Lothian reported 28 cases over the same period, followed by Fife (25), Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran (both 21), Lanarkshire (19), Highland (13), and Forth Valley and Tayside (both 12).

The exact spread of the problem is not known because boards with fewer than five cases a year refuse to publish the data, citing patient confidentiality.

1 comment:

blackdog said...

The word appalling doesn't cut it. Where are the protocols to prevent this sort of thing happening? I have been of the view for some time that the NHS does not seem to sign up or practise health and safety in any meaningful way. I know that this elicits a groan in certain sectors but methodological approaches to hazardous processes and treatments can and would stop this happening.
I thought that everything had to be counted in and counted out just like the workers or components and tools used in Nuclear working and the Aerospace industry. If not, why not? I suspect that methods are detailed and either hubris or arrogance intervene and the paperwork is fudged. I've seen it happen and in non-critical situations done it myself occasionally. But, this is where the bean counters have thier day and so they should.
Once more I raise the spectre of the 'Bolam Test/Defence. If that single thing was overturned it would be sea change for Medics. I would never like to see the litigious nature of US medicine repeated here, but too many have been getting away with appallingly bad medicine and surgery based on flawed science and anecdotal evidence. There are cavalier attitudes to patient safety that manifest themselves all too often resulting in death or permanent injury. Any surgical procedure is potentially life threatening but hubris often plays a pivitol role in the accidents that do occur. All medics should approach thier many and difficult tasks with both caution and humanity. Always from the viewpoint of putting themselves in the place of the patient or the person they most love.