Friday 26 February 2010

Patient death charge hospital admits safety law breach

A hospital in Essex where a severely disabled man died has admitted breaching health and safety law.
Kyle Flack, 20, from Stanford-le-Hope, who had severe cerebral palsy, was found dead at Basildon University Hospital, on 12 October 2006. His head had become trapped in the rails around his bed, an inquest heard.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution, accusing the hospital of failing to ensure the patient's safety. Matthew Taylor, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told magistrates Mr Flack died at the hospital, two days after being admitted with stomach problems...
Source: BBC
What is unclear is why Rab C Nesbitt is posing as the man's mother.


A JURY yesterday heard the moment a paramedic allegedly refused to resuscitate a dying man then instructed a colleague to lie to cover his tracks.
A recording of a 999 call captured the disturbing sound of a 30-stone heart-attack victim collapsing in front of Karl Harris, who allegedly stopped a colleague going to his aid with the words: "Don't bother. There's no point." Experienced paramedic Harris then ordered his trainee crewmate: "Just say he was dead when we got here."
Harris, 45, from Brighton, East Sussex, sat impassively in the dock as the recording was played at Lewes Crown Court yesterday, where he denies perverting the course of justice. The jury was told that even though Harris broke guidelines by failing to try to save Barry Baker, 59, he narrowly avoided prosecution over his death because it was "highly unlikely" resuscitation would have saved him.
Harris and trainee Ben Stokes, 36, were dispatched to the former Jobcentre worker's home in Brighton in the early hours of November 29, 2008, after he dialled 999 suffering breathing difficulties, the court was told.Unknown to the pair, emergency operator Marilyn Benson stayed on the line and listened to events as they unfolded.
Harris has been suspended from his job with South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Mr Stokes was given a written warning and put on restrictive duties.
The case continues.

Thursday 25 February 2010

Teenage dancer has leg amputated after doctors 'failed to spot cancer'

Shannon Corr, 15, repeatedly visited GPs for over two months complaining of agonising pains in her right knee and shin that left her struggling to walk.

But doctors told her she was suffering from a disease which usually affects teenage boys who play football and growing pains, advising her to go home and rest. After GPs refused to refer Shannon to hospital her mother Jeannetta Swift, 44, rushed her to A&E and pretended she had fallen over so she could be fully examined.

Doctors immediately spotted a problem, but by the time osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, was diagnosed it had spread to her leg's soft tissue and they were forced to amputate...
Source: The Telegraph

Wednesday 24 February 2010

From Canada: 'My heart, my choice,' Williams says, defending decision for U.S. heart surgery

An unapologetic Danny Williams says he was aware his trip to the United States for heart surgery earlier this month would spark outcry, but he concluded his personal health trumped any public fallout over the controversial decision.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Williams said he went to Miami to have a "minimally invasive" surgery for an ailment first detected nearly a year ago, based on the advice of his doctors.

"This was my heart, my choice and my health," Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla.

"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."

The 60-year-old Williams said doctors detected a heart murmur last spring and told him that one of his heart valves wasn't closing properly, creating a leakage.

He said he was told at the time that the problem was "moderate" and that he should come back for a checkup in six months.

Eight months later, in December, his doctors told him the problem had become severe and urged him to get his valve repaired immediately or risk heart failure, he said.

His doctors in Canada presented him with two options - a full or partial sternotomy, both of which would've required breaking bones, he said.

He said he spoke with and provided his medical information to a leading cardiac surgeon in New Jersey who is also from Newfoundland and Labrador. He advised him to seek treatment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.

That's where he was treated by Dr. Joseph Lamelas, a cardiac surgeon who has performed more than 8,000 open-heart surgeries.

Williams said Lamelas made an incision under his arm that didn't require any bone breakage.

"I wanted to get in, get out fast, get back to work in a short period of time," the premier said.

Williams said he didn't announce his departure south of the border because he didn't want to create "a media gong show," but added that criticism would've followed him had he chose to have surgery in Canada.

"I would've been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list. ... I accept that. That's public life," he said.

Source: Google News

Stafford Hospital deaths findings awaited

Further details are expected to emerge later about one of the worst scandals in the history of the NHS.
The Stafford Hospital independent inquiry is also due to report on what can be learned from the case.

Regulators said last year at least 400 more people had died at the hospital between 2005 and 2008 than would be expected, due to "appalling" care...

The hospital, which is run by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, had been climbing the NHS ratings ladder during the period in question and was even given elite foundation trust status.
Source: BBC

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Paediatric surgeon Pierina Kapur mistakenly removed a baby’s bladder

A surgeon mistakenly removed a baby's bladder in an operation that means she will need a catheter for the rest of her life, a disciplinary hearing has been told.

Pierina Kapur, 43, a consultant paediatric surgeon, was scheduled to remove a hernial sac on a seven-week-old baby at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. But she mistook the child's bladder for the hernia, removing 90 per cent of it. It was only after the operation, when the child was admitted to the intensive care unit with acute kidney failure, that the full extent of the blunder was realised.

Miss Kapur appeared before the General Medical Council fitness-to-practise panel in Manchester. She has admitted that her role in the surgery was inadequate and fell below the standard expected of a consultant paediatrician, but denies misconduct...
Source: The Times

Tuesday 16 February 2010

NHS hospitals ignore patient safety orders

Watchdog says failure by trusts to comply with alerts is 'unacceptable'.

Hospitals were accused tonight of putting patients' lives at unnecessary risk after research revealed they were failing to comply with NHS orders designed to prevent deaths from mistakes involving drugs, surgery or equipment.

Information released by the Department of Health after a freedom of information request showed that hospitals were not complying with safety alerts issued by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

The NPSA's chairman, Lord Patel of Dunkeld, told the Guardian that the behaviour of the trusts was unacceptable and endangered the health of patients.

"It's not good enough," he said. "What's the point of us developing these alerts if they don't pay any attention to them? Alerts are produced to reduce risk and hopefully avoid many deaths, so not to implement them to me is alarming. If they aren't implemented then they run the risk of harm occurring and the danger will continue."

The findings were from a FOI request submitted by patient safety charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA). It revealed that:

• 104 hospitals and other providers of NHS care in England have not confirmed they have implemented an NPSA alert issued in March 2007 to ensure that injectable medicines are used more safely – even though new systems are meant to be in place by March 2010. The alert came after 25 patients died and 28 others experienced serious harm in 18 months.

• 25 NHS organisations have not confirmed compliance with an NPSA safer-practice notice designed to reduce the risk of patients falling out of bed. It was issued after about 90 patients who rolled out of bed on to the floor in hospitals, mental health and learning disability units, fractured their neck or femur; 11 of them died.

• 81 hospitals and other care providers had not taken the "required actions" outlined in patient safety alerts covering opioid (painkilling) medicines. The alert was originally issued in July 2008 with a deadline of January 2009; the 81 had not complied by 29 December 2009.

• 10 NHS trusts have not said they have complied with a February 2005 alert on nasogastric feeding tubes, which can sometimes be wrongly placed into the lungs during insertion. Errors involving the feeding tubes caused at least 11 deaths before the alert came out, according to the NPSA...
Source: The Guardian.

Author's footnote: AFAIAA, that's the first time we've ever posted something from The Guardian. Is this because they don't show up on Google or because they don't like reporting this sort of thing?

Sunday 14 February 2010

Son sues hospital over mother’s death in botched surgery

The son of a woman who bled to death after a botched operation is suing the hospital which treated her.

Ray Swing's mother Jean, 86, suffered a haemorrhage at Kingston hospital following surgery to improve the blood supply to her ulcerated legs.

Mr Swing blames her death on “untrained” staff, who he claims failed to recognise his mother was seriously ill. The motor service manager is taking legal action against the hospital which admits there was an “unacceptable” lapse of care.

Mr Swing told the Standard: “They [the hospital] said this was a simple procedure — at no stage did they say it was dangerous. She bled to death.”

The mother of five from Putney died last July. An inquiry by the hospital revealed a catalogue of errors. A spokesman said staff were receiving training on how to document medical notes and on the proper use of observation charts. Chief executive Kate Grimes said they had apologised.
Source: Evening Standard

Sunday 7 February 2010

Patient dies in hospital after 'do not resuscitate' form is mistakenly put in his files

A patient who suffered a heart attack on a hospital ward died because clerical staff had mistakenly inserted a ‘Do Not Attempt Resuscitation’ form into his medical notes.

Peter Clarke was not treated by doctors after going into cardiac arrest as a nurse had spotted the form in his files and, even though it was blank and had not been filled in, told other ward staff he should not be revived. The blunder emerged at an inquest into the incident at Derby Hospitals NHS Trust, where bosses revealed staff had been ‘routinely’ placing the forms alongside medical records before they had been correctly signed and witnessed by senior doctors.

The errors go against the usual Trust policy on using the forms and mean the documents were inserted into files without the consent of patients. It has affected an unknown number of patients and it is not known how long the practice was going on...
Source: Daily Mail
Spotted by: JuliaM

Friday 5 February 2010

Virus keeps wards closed at Royal Cornwall Hospital

Five wards at Royal Cornwall Hospital remain closed due to a vomiting bug.

Two other wards are affected at the hospital in Truro because of the norovirus outbreak but are not closed to new patients. Managers said outpatient appointments were not affected, although anyone who has been ill is asked to contact the hospital before going in.

Visiting restrictions are in place at Royal Cornwall, West Cornwall and St Michael's hospitals. People have been asked not to visit the hospitals unless it is to see a seriously-ill patient. Outpatient appointments are going ahead as normal and patients have been told to turn up provided they are not unwell or showing any symptoms themselves.

The symptoms of the infection include a sudden onset of nausea, followed by vomiting and diarrhoea. Norovirus is contagious from the moment a person begins to feel unwell until at least three days after symptoms have stopped.
Source: BBC

Monday 1 February 2010

Hospital readmission rates increase

The number of patients readmitted as emergencies within 28 days of being discharged rose from 359,719 in 1998-1999 to 546,354 in 2007-08, the data showed.

Elderly patients made up a large proportion of those affected - with 159,134 over the age of 75 readmitted in 2007-8, compared to 94,283 in 1998-99. The Tories said the figures suggest patients are routinely being released before they are well enough. The party's health spokesman Andrew Lansley said a Conservative government would change NHS rules to stop hospitals being paid again for treating patients they recently discharged.

He said: "It's staggering that there has been such a huge increase in the number of patients having to be readmitted to hospital as emergencies almost as soon as they've been allowed home. It's also a deeply worrying sign that the quality of care in hospitals is being undermined. This raises real concerns that patients are routinely being discharged too soon. Hospitals should not have an incentive to discharge patients quickly and then get paid by the taxpayer a second when they have to be readmitted. I will ensure that through our payment for results approach, hospitals have to meet any costs arising from emergency readmissions themselves."

However, a Department of Health spokesman said: "Patients are only discharged from hospital if the clinicians involved consider it safe and in their best interests. Some patients might require readmission if their health deteriorates, but the numbers are small. Only about 5% of patients discharged from hospital are readmitted within seven days of their discharge. Rates of readmission can also be a sign of better care. More people with long term conditions are being offered the choice of being treated in the community, with readmission only if the condition worsens."
Source: The Metro