"Never" events

Posted by Malcolm Johnson on

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The BBC reports that over a 1,000 NHS patients in England in the past four years have suffered from medical mistakes, which are described as "never events."

NHS England said that these events are rare, but the Patients Association said that they they were a "disgrace".

"Never events" include operations on the wrong legs, eyes, or knees, and cases where foreign objects such as scalpels are left inside bodies after operations.

One "never event" is where a feeding tube is put into a patient's lungs instead of their stomach. 

BL Claims' clinical negligence department was instructed in one such case by the family of an 84 year old lady died at Homerton Hospital on the 15th December 2012. She had suffered from dementia for about two years prior to her death. In November 2012 she was admitted to Homerton Hospital after a stroke, where she treated by their specialist stroke unit. As she could not feed herself, a naso gastric tube was used to give her nutrition. The hospital used a procedure known as the "whoosh test" to ascertain whether the tube was correctly positioned in her stomach. Unfortunately for the lady, Homerton's own policy expressly forbade the use of that test.  On the 4th December the tube was inserted by mistake into one of her lungs, and she developed pneumonia. Tragically she died eleven days later.

We attended the inquest into her death, and shortly afterwards achieved a five figure sum in compensation for her family. 

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If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk

About the Author

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Malcolm is an Senior Associate in our London office, with nearly twenty years' experience.

Malcolm Johnson
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