Lister Hospital Trust operates on wrong part of patient’s body


- Credit: Archant

A patient has had the wrong part of their body operated on during surgery at the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

The blunder was highlighted last week by NHS England in a report of ‘never events’ – serious errors in care that put patients at risk of harm and that should not happen if full preventative procedures are in place.

In England, 148 such incidents were reported between April 1 and Sept 30 this year, including foreign objects left inside patients following surgery, operations being carried out on wrong parts of the body, and overdose causing death or severe harm.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust recorded one ‘never event’ during this period, described as ‘wrong site surgery’. But the Trust has refused to confirm where on the body the unnecessary surgery took place, stating that this information might identify the patient.

A spokesman did say that no significant harm was caused to the patient and that further surgery took place at a later date.

The Trust’s medical director Jane McCue added: “One never event, of course, is one too many, which is why this incident was reported. A thorough and very detailed investigation was undertaken to ensure we understood not only what happened and why, but more importantly what needed changing to prevent such circumstances happening again.

“In line with NHS England’s commitment to openness and transparency, the patient involved heard about the incident from us whilst still in hospital. “Although a complex case, this incident should never have happened – for which we apologised immediately, as well as agreeing next steps in terms of the patient’s ongoing treatment.

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“Although incredibly rare, guidance exists that if followed properly will prevent never events from occurring. Our investigation will help us ensure this is the case going forward.”