Patient afforded damages after surgeon operates on the wrong part of his arm

2018-05-24 15:12
PHOTO: Getty Images

PHOTO: Getty Images

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A British patient recently woke up in hospital to find that the surgeon had operated on the wrong part of his arm.

Phillip Ivory (61) had been experiencing numbness in his fingers and in July 2017 decided to undergo an elective ulnar nerve decompression surgery to restore the feeling in his hand.

Despite marking Phillip's arm before he began the procedure, the surgeon – who has more than 30 years' experience – made his incision on the wrong part of Phillip's elbow, the Hull Daily Mail reports.

The surgeon realised his mistake shortly after the operation and said something "didn't feel right" during surgery. Afterwards, he asked the nurse to unwrap the bandages on Phillip's arm and explained his mistake to the patient.

Phillip says he thought the surgeon was joking when he visited him at his bedside shortly after the operation to give him the news.

"I said to him, 'Everything all right?' And he never said anything and he asked the nurse to take off the bandage.

"He then said, 'I've done the operation wrong.'

"I was shocked and I thought he was joking with me, so I said, 'We all make mistakes.'

"Then I thought, 'Oh no, he's not joking.' He apologised and said he'd reported himself to the medical council."

The corrective surgery was delayed because Phillip suffered from unrelated health problems and then was later diagnosed with diabetes.

The procedure was eventually carried out at Castle Hill Hospital in February 2018, by a different surgeon.

Phillip, who's now recovering from the second surgery, is still waiting to see if he regains the feeling in his fingers. That can take up to a year.

He said he holds no ill feelings towards the original surgeon.

"I know things do happen and things go wrong, and I'm just glad it was something relatively minor, and nothing major. He was very upset."

Phillip has now been awarded damages after bringing a medical negligence claim against Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, administrators of Castle Hill Hospital.

The trust admitted breach of duty and completed an incident report into the matter.

It deemed the mistake a 'Never Event' – errors which the NHS accepts are 'wholly avoidable' if the proper checks and procedures are followed.

Sources: The Mirror, Metro UK, Daily Mail, Hull Daily Mail

Read more on:    health

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