Surgeons left swabs inside their patients

Daily Echo: Library image of surgery being performed Library image of surgery being performed

BLUNDERING surgeons left surgical swabs inside two Southampton hospital patients, NHS bosses have revealed.

A similar gaffe happened at the trust which runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

They were all so-called “never events”, mistakes so serious that experts say they should never happen.

Now hospital bosses at both trusts have been rapped by a health chief and told that such incidents are “completely unacceptable”.

Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that a surgery safety taskforce would complete a review in the new year.

He said: “However rare these cases are, never should mean never – and avoiding such errors should be the priority of every surgeon.”

It is the first time that NHS England has released detailed information for the number – and type – of “never events” at each hospital trust, between April and September.

A spokesman for University Hospital Southampton Trust, which runs Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals, said: “The two incidents both involved retained swabs.

“One involved a trauma patient, which means they came in a critical condition and swabs were applied to stem excessive bleeding prior to entering the theatre and were not part of the swab count.

“Both incidents were fully investigated and the patients were kept fully informed. Neither has suffered any harm as a result of the incident.”

The trust defended its procedures, adding that it insisted upon “quiet theatre”, where swab checks and instrument counts were carried out in absolute silence.

Mary Edwards, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, said: “The swab was removed and the patient suffered no harm.

“We take ‘never events’ very seriously and we are always open with the patients about what has happened, investigating fully to learn lessons for the future.”

The trust said the incident happened at the North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke.

NHS England said that its review will lead to standardised operating theatre procedures and better staff education and training.

Dr Mike Durkin, national director of patient safety, said: “People who suffer severe harm because of mistakes can suffer serious physical and psychological effects for the rest of their lives.”

Comments (8)

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4:38am Fri 13 Dec 13

WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER. says...

much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.
much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen. WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER.

12:08pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Old Man of the Sea says...

WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER. wrote:
much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.
And your proof for this comment is?
[quote][p][bold]WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER.[/bold] wrote: much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.[/p][/quote]And your proof for this comment is? Old Man of the Sea

1:26pm Fri 13 Dec 13

This_DAMN_Town says...

Old Man of the Sea wrote:
WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER. wrote:
much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.
And your proof for this comment is?
None other than this article I guess... lol
[quote][p][bold]Old Man of the Sea[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER.[/bold] wrote: much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.[/p][/quote]And your proof for this comment is?[/p][/quote]None other than this article I guess... lol This_DAMN_Town

1:39pm Fri 13 Dec 13

billy_whizz says...

Dear Daily Echo, so that I can decide how worrying this is, please let me know what percentage these two occasions represent.

If it turns out to be 2 in 100 operations then that is a real worry. If it turns out to be 2 in 100000 operations then that is less of a worry.

Clearly for anyone to whom incidents like this happen will be a major concern and these things should not be dismissed lightly. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, human error can and does occur therefore mistakes will never be eradicated. Systems obviously need to be monitored, checked and adjusted to reduce risks of errors as much as is possible.

For the sake of people facing surgery I feel that you have the responsibility to report news such as this however you should take care not to cause undue alarm or distress by not reporting all relevant facts.
Dear Daily Echo, so that I can decide how worrying this is, please let me know what percentage these two occasions represent. If it turns out to be 2 in 100 operations then that is a real worry. If it turns out to be 2 in 100000 operations then that is less of a worry. Clearly for anyone to whom incidents like this happen will be a major concern and these things should not be dismissed lightly. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, human error can and does occur therefore mistakes will never be eradicated. Systems obviously need to be monitored, checked and adjusted to reduce risks of errors as much as is possible. For the sake of people facing surgery I feel that you have the responsibility to report news such as this however you should take care not to cause undue alarm or distress by not reporting all relevant facts. billy_whizz

1:57pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Raxx says...

billy_whizz wrote:
Dear Daily Echo, so that I can decide how worrying this is, please let me know what percentage these two occasions represent.

If it turns out to be 2 in 100 operations then that is a real worry. If it turns out to be 2 in 100000 operations then that is less of a worry.

Clearly for anyone to whom incidents like this happen will be a major concern and these things should not be dismissed lightly. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, human error can and does occur therefore mistakes will never be eradicated. Systems obviously need to be monitored, checked and adjusted to reduce risks of errors as much as is possible.

For the sake of people facing surgery I feel that you have the responsibility to report news such as this however you should take care not to cause undue alarm or distress by not reporting all relevant facts.
In addition, the hectoring tone of the regulators and press makes it less likely that hospitals will report incidents honestly so that they can be learnt from. Proper root cause analysis of most NHS 'scandals' leads right back to the bullying and threatening attitude of the various regulators.
[quote][p][bold]billy_whizz[/bold] wrote: Dear Daily Echo, so that I can decide how worrying this is, please let me know what percentage these two occasions represent. If it turns out to be 2 in 100 operations then that is a real worry. If it turns out to be 2 in 100000 operations then that is less of a worry. Clearly for anyone to whom incidents like this happen will be a major concern and these things should not be dismissed lightly. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, human error can and does occur therefore mistakes will never be eradicated. Systems obviously need to be monitored, checked and adjusted to reduce risks of errors as much as is possible. For the sake of people facing surgery I feel that you have the responsibility to report news such as this however you should take care not to cause undue alarm or distress by not reporting all relevant facts.[/p][/quote]In addition, the hectoring tone of the regulators and press makes it less likely that hospitals will report incidents honestly so that they can be learnt from. Proper root cause analysis of most NHS 'scandals' leads right back to the bullying and threatening attitude of the various regulators. Raxx

8:37am Sat 14 Dec 13

Norwegian Saint says...

A doctor from Southampton hospital killed my Grandfather by leaving a swab inside him. Sad to hear it's still happening.
A doctor from Southampton hospital killed my Grandfather by leaving a swab inside him. Sad to hear it's still happening. Norwegian Saint

11:21am Sat 14 Dec 13

Poppy22 says...

Perhaps if personal conversations amongst surgeons and the team (and the occasional and totally unnecessary press/TV camera crew!) were banned during operations they might all be concentrating enough to never make mistakes like this. There are surely enough people around an operating table to make sure mistakes like this just don't happen.
Perhaps if personal conversations amongst surgeons and the team (and the occasional and totally unnecessary press/TV camera crew!) were banned during operations they might all be concentrating enough to never make mistakes like this. There are surely enough people around an operating table to make sure mistakes like this just don't happen. Poppy22

6:12pm Sat 14 Dec 13

Shoong says...

WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER. wrote:
much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.
No, it shouldn't.

But you've based your comment on what figures..?

Let us know where you got them so we can all take a look please.

I won't hold my breath.
[quote][p][bold]WILLIAM HAGUES TWIN BROTHER.[/bold] wrote: much more common than is admitted , but never should it happen.[/p][/quote]No, it shouldn't. But you've based your comment on what figures..? Let us know where you got them so we can all take a look please. I won't hold my breath. Shoong

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