Devon’s four main hospital trusts each reported at least two serious surgical errors in 2012. The so-called “never events” included three at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, involving a foreign object being left in a patient, surgery carried out to the wrong part of the body, and the wrong dose of insulin being administered.
The Royal Devon and Exeter, North Devon Healthcare and South Devon Healthcare trusts each reported two “never” events, involving surgery to the wrong part of the body, and misplaced surgical equipment.
“Never” events are defined by the Care Quality Commission as serious, largely preventable incidents which should not happen. Although surgical errors like this are rare, they are serious enough that each requires an investigation.
Last year, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth was warned by the CQC that it must improve safety or risk prosecution after six “never” events within a year, including swabs being left in four patients. Derriford Hospital is part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which carries out more than 40,000 operations a year. The Trust said it had investigated the medical mistakes and had put in safeguards to prevent accidents happening in the future.
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