Investigation after mistake injecting patient with anaesthetic

Lister Hospital.

Lister Hospital. - Credit: Archant

Health bosses at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust are investigating after a patient was injected with local anaesthetic on the wrong side of their body.

The incident last month is one of six ‘never events’ that have occurred at hospitals run by the trust since April.

A ‘never event’ has the potential to cause serious harm, or even death, and is deemed by the NHS to be a largely preventable safety incident.

A single ‘never event’ acts as a red flag that an organisation’s systems for implementing existing safety advice or alerts might not be robust.

Three patients have been given surgery on the ‘wrong site’ and there has been one case of a misplaced naso or orogastric tube.

A trust spokesman said: “Since April this year, the trust has reported six patient safety incidents which meet the national ‘never event’ criteria.

“In November, an incident was reported where a patient was given a local anaesthetic injection to the wrong side of the body.

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“An explanation and apology were given, and the patient went on to have their procedure which went well.

“A full safety investigation is in progress to identify immediate learning opportunities, which will be shared with colleagues.”

The trust runs four hospitals – Lister in Stevenage, the NEW QEII in Welwyn Garden City, Hertford County, and the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

It has not been confirmed at which hospitals the ‘never events’ occurred.

According to the trust’s annual report, published earlier this year, there were a further six ‘never events’ at hospitals run by the Trust in 2017/18.

In one of those recorded incidents surgery was undertaken on the wrong finger at one of the trust’s hospitals.

There were also three instances where ‘foreign objects’ were left in patients following a body procedure.

In one of those cases a gallstone retrieval bag was left inside a patient during surgery.

In another, a woman was discharged with a needle, following the delivery of a baby. And in the third a guidewire had not been removed.

During 2017/18 a patient was given ‘a small quantity’ of the wrong blood type during a transfusion.

And in the sixth event a patient was found to have a misplaced naso-gastric tube, which was placed into the lung rather than the stomach.

Last week provisional data was published by the government showing there were 294 ‘never events’ across the country between April 1 and October 31 this year.

Four of the incidents at East and North Hertfordshire are listed in the data.