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British Hospital Blunders: 40 Patients Given Surgery on Wrong Limb

December 16, 2013

New figures from the National Health Service (NHS) reveal that 150 NHS patients over the last six months have been the victims of major hospital blunders -- the type that should never happen, says the Telegraph (U.K.).

Patients have been seriously injured or killed from these mistakes.

  • Thirty-seven of these cases involved patients who received surgery on the wrong part of their body. A total of 21 patients received the wrong implant or prosthesis.
  • One patient was erroneously given a heart procedure, while another woman had her fallopian tube removed instead of her appendix. In four cases, operations were carried out on the wrong teeth. Other times, injections were given to the wrong eye.
  • In 69 cases, swabs, needles, surgical instruments and specimen retrieval bags were left inside patients' bodies. A drill guide block was left inside one patient.
  • Seven patients received the wrong dose of chemotherapy. Drug overdoses also occurred in more than five cases. In one instance, a weekly dose of a drug was administered to a patient in a single day.
  • When NHS staff inserted feeding tubes incorrectly, five patients died or suffered severe harm.

These numbers are not unique and are comparable to past years. NHS England said that there had been 325 events in the previous 12 months.

Source: Laura Donnelly, "Major Hospital Blunders Including 40 Patients Given Surgery on Wrong Limb, Revealed by Official Statistics," Telegraph (U.K.), December 12, 2013.


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