Four health trusts in region are rapped over "never events" - after objects are left inside patients and wrong implants are carried out

The Northern Echo: Warning over "never events" Warning over "never events"

FOUR patients were left with a “foreign object” inside their bodies after surgery, while two suffered operations on the wrong parts of their bodies.

Meanwhile, a further two people were given the wrong implants or prosthesis, probably when they were given replacement knees or hips.

They are the unfortunate patients who were the victims of so-called ‘never events’ at the region’s hospitals this year – so serious experts say they should never happen.

Now four trusts in the North-East and North Yorkshire 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 a surgery safety taskforce would complete a review in the New Year.

And 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 NHS England has released detailed information for the number – and type – of ‘never events’ at each hospital trust, between April and September.

They show that three occurred at South Tees Trust which runs the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, and the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton.

Two of the three saw objects left inside the patient after surgery, while the third is listed simply as “other”, by NHS England The Trust was asked to explain the incidents – and what measures have been taken to prevent a repeat – but did not respond to calls from The Northern Echo.

However, across England, the most common mistake was a failure to remove swabs, while other objects included ‘throat packs’, wires, needles – and even a drill guide block.

Meanwhile, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals topped the national ‘league table’ with no fewer than four ‘never events’ – or even every six weeks, or so.

They were two objects left inside patients, an operation on the wrong part of the body and a patient given the wrong implant, or prosthesis.

The other trusts named are City Hospitals Sunderland (operation on wrong part of body) and Harrogate and District (wrong implant or prosthesis).

Across England, 148 patients were harmed, including the wrong person receiving heart surgery and one woman who had her fallopian tube removed instead of her appendix.

In other cases, patients died because of a failure to monitor their oxygen levels and from heavy bleeding following a woman’s planned Caesarean section.

NHS England said its taskforce proposals will include standardised operating theatre procedure and better education and training for staff.

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.”

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