Hospital negligence news

 

Local amputee and children's charities to bring hope to disabled Romanian children

Local charities have created a unique partnership that will see life-changing artificial limbs and wheelchairs transported from South-east England to help many amputee kids in Romania who have little hope of receiving a prosthesis which will change their lives.

Farnborough-based Limbcare, a group that provides peer support to limb-impaired individuals and communities and which is committed to recycling and reusing prosthesis, is joining forces with Kent charity Bless The Children (UK), to send this equipment to their long-term partner ‘FundatiaTheranova’ in Oradea, Romania.

Led by Chairman Ray Edwards MBE, the UK’s longest-surviving quad amputee, Limbcare has been able to collect a large number of used prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and walking aids through its work with local hospitals since it was founded in 2010.

We, helped bring about the encounter between Ray and Bless The Children (UK)’s Carol Marsh that led to the idea that these limbs and wheelchairs, which were sitting unused, could be used to help to Fundatia Theranova to provide low-cost prostheses to their patients..

Limbcare’s Chairman Ray Edwards MBE said: “We are delighted and proud to help in this initiative which fits clearly with Limbcare’s mission towards creating greater independence for all amputees and limb impaired people, and helping individuals improve their quality of life.”

Bless The Children (UK)’s Carol Marsh added: “Words cannot express how much joy these limbs will bring to the young people we are helping in Romania. Many have little or no hope of regaining their mobility. This simple gesture will have a major impact on their immediate and later lives.”

Carol led a convoy of several cars and 4×4’s to Yateley, Hampshire, on Friday 10th November, to collect as many prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and walking aids as they could. These will then be packed and shipped by road to Romania later in November.

Claire Roantree, a partner at Boyes Turner, said: “The work that Ray and Carol are doing will change lives. We’re delighted to be able to help fund the transport that will get these limbs and wheelchairs quickly to the people who need them”.

Since 2001 Bless The Children (UK) has provided 33 limbs to children and young people and sent 10 kits to be assembled in Romania. Theranova not only custom-builds and fits prosthetic limbs but also provides a full support and follow-up programme.

 More information about the two charities:

·       Limbcare Limbcare was formed on 8th June 2010 by Ray Edwards MBE (the UK’s Longest surviving quad amputee), Alex Hyde-Smith, Roy Wright and Barry Perrin. To create empathy, not sympathy, to all amputees and the limb impaired. Limbcare has found that often redundant or unusable limbs are scrapped into landfill sites. They have arranged pick up facilities throughout the UK to bring these to their Recycling Centre in Camberley.
Parts are sent overseas for reuse, some specialised parts resold while others can be broken up for scrap metal to be recycled thereby creating money to be ploughed back into mentoring trainee prosthetists and technicians.

·       Bless The Children (UK) became a registered charity in January 1997. Its members have been working as volunteers in Romania since 1990.  In 1996 they took over the Darmanesti Day Centre to provide social and practical help to the elderly, poor families with disadvantaged children and individuals living in difficult circumstances in the small rural town of Darmanesti, North-East Romania.

Watch That’s Surrey TV’s interview with Limbcare and Bless the Children HERE.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Over recent years, the treatment of cancer has advanced dramatically.  Many forms of cancer now have record survival rates. Nonetheless, further research is needed and awareness of signs and symptoms is still the key to beating breast cancer.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month Boyes Turner are supporting thousands of organisations worldwide in highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment to give breast cancer sufferers the best chance of a good and long lasting prognosis.

A diagnosis of cancer is always devastating but detection at an early stage and a prompt referral for treatment are critical to a successful outcome.

As clinical negligence specialists we are regularly contacted by people who have experienced a delay in diagnosis of breast cancer leading to an exacerbation of their condition, the need for more invasive treatment, increased pain and disfigurement. Some of our saddest cases have required us to act for the bereaved partners and children of women whose untreated cancer has resulted in premature death.

Sometimes the delay has occurred because a GP fails to consider breast cancer as a diagnosis and suggest a review of ongoing symptoms. In other cases, having suspected breast cancer, the GP or the surgery staff, fail to refer a patient for further investigations.

We have seen cases where a referral to the wrong specialist has taken place, or where there has been an unnecessary delay in arranging tests or treatment, or follow up from an abnormal test result. In some cases incorrect reporting of scans or test results gives false reassurance which in turn leads to further delay.

Recently scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute published results from a genetic study which found that primary breast tumours do not spread until the later stages of the disease. Research findings such as these reinforce the importance of early action as localised tumours are easier and less invasive to treat and offer the patient a better post-treatment long term prognosis.

If you or a member of your family have suffered serious injury as a result of medical negligence on 0800 029 4804 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Brighter Future Partner - a year on

Boyes Turner has been proud to support Meningitis Now as a Brighter Future Partner over the last 12 months. The charity is dedicated to fighting meningitis in the UK, supporting the families of those affected and funding vital research into this disease.

Over the past year we have enjoyed finding different ways to raise money to support Meningitis Now’s work, whilst raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.

Our first event, in September last year, was the Toddle Waddle  – a sponsored walk for toddlers in Forbury Gardens in Reading.  It was a great success and raised over £700 for the charity and a reminder that these very young members of society are most at risk from the infection. It was great to see so many taking part.

As Christmas approached, the Boyes Turner medical negligence team ran two Christmas wreath making evenings. After the first evening sold out, a second was added and everybody enjoyed making  traditional festive decorations. It was great to see everyone leave with something hand-made that (hopefully) would last the entire festive season.

Then in February of this year, we continued the craft theme, with a ‘Made with Love’ fundraising event for Valentines Day, at which people could make their own Valentines Day card, create Valentine bunting and decorate their own “love mugs”, amongst other crafts.

May Mayhem provided a week of events which included a mobile ice cream trolley touring the office for our staff, a party in the park sports event, a picture quiz and a raffle.  The most sought after prize was the chocolate bouquet!

Solicitor Julie Marsh said:

“We’ve had a fantastic year supporting Meningitis Now. We would like to thank the team of organisers and everybody who has taken part in the fundraising events.”

We appreciate the life changing impact of meningitis has on individuals and their families. Those who survive the condition may experience long term physical effects of sepsis including brain injury and amputation. If you are concerned about the medical care you or a family member has received and would like medical negligence advice please contact our team on 0800 029 4803 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Musgrove Park Hospital - The report

Following on from our previous article, the report is now out!   The safety of tens of thousands of NHS patients “outsourced” to the private sector has been challenged by a secret report describing how dozens were left in severe pain by inadequate eye surgery carried out for the NHS by the private sector.

The report, released following a Freedom of Information request yesterday, revealed that two patients suffered burns, six lost pigment in their iris and four were left with shards of metal in their eye after being operated on at a private facility contracted by the hospital in Somerset. One 85-year-old patient was  left blind.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People has warned that the safety of NHS patients treated in the private sector has become a “key concern”.

In the report commissioned by Musgrove Park Hospital it emerged that 60% of cataract patients it had sent to surgeons working for Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, required follow-up care – a complication rate 10 times greater than normal.

Several patients suffered “very painful” surgery, possibly because an anaesthetic was not working, and some were “shouted at” for not keeping still during the procedure.

The operations took place from 2 to 9 May this year and were stopped after NHS consultants raised concerns. Vanguard was contracted in May to carry out 400 cataract operations, at a rate of 20 a day – at least six more than NHS consultants at the hospital were routinely performing daily.

Vanguard, in turn subcontracted another private company, The Practice plc, to provide two surgeons to perform procedures.

The report said that the “particular combination of staff, equipment and facilities had not been brought together before” and that staff had not had enough time for “on-site training” before patients began arriving on the first day.

Musgrove Park Hospital criticised

An NHS hospital where dozens of people suffered impaired vision, pain and discomfort after undergoing eye operations provided by a private healthcare company, Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, has been criticised for refusing to publish its report into the matter.

Patients and their families, including that of an 84-year-old man who claimed to have lost his sight following one of the routine cataract procedures, have demanded a full independent inquiry.

Instead Musgrove Park hospital in Taunton carried out its own investigation. It says it has found “no clear single cause for the . . . problems” – but will not publish the report on legal advice.

Musgrove appointed Vanguard in May to carry out 400 cataract operations to help reduce a backlog.

Never event' reported at King's Mill Hospital

The BBC has reported that late last year a ‘never event‘ occurred when a baby was given 100 times the recommended dose of morphine. She should have been given 0.27mg, but was instead given 27 mg.

It appears that there was a failure on the part of two doctors, and two nurses, to check that the right amount was being administered. As a result, baby Ellie stopped breathing and required intensive care. Her parents thought that they would lose her.

King’s Mill Hospital have investigated and have now changed their procedures and drug labelling. The pharmacy has also reduced the strengths of drug available.

Dr Andy Haynes, from the Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, said: “The incident was notified to the family and external agencies immediately and we initiated an internal investigation in line with trust policies. Immediate steps were taken to ensure patients were safe”.

Nicola Anderson, Solicitor with Boyes Turner’s specialist medical negligence team comments:

“Errors like these are known as ‘never events’ because they should simply not happen. Whilst the hospital has been forthcoming in admitting their mistake, preventative measures should already have been in place. It should not have taken an incident such as this, for practice to improve. Fortunately events such as these are rare, but not unheard of. Here at Boyes Turner we have dealt with cases involving anaesthetic awareness caused by the anaesthetic drugs being administered in the wrong order. We have also acted for patients who have suffered injury as a result of receiving drug overdoses”. 

Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust demise

The troubled Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust will be dissolved, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed, with its two hospitals taken over by neighbouring trusts.

Stafford Hospital, which was at the centre of the biggest care scandal in NHS history, will re­main open, as will Cannock. Both will continue to see “90 per cent” of the patients currently under their care, Mr Hunt said. Some services, including in-­patient paediatrics and major surgery, will be moved to other hospitals.

The trust has been in administration since April 2013 after the hospital regulator, Monitor, ruled it was neither clinically nor financially sustainable.

Two landmark reports into care failings at the trust outlined “appalling suffering of many patients” between 2005 and 2008.

The Francis report, published a year ago, made 290 recommendations, calling for greater transparency and candour about care problems and a widespread culture change within the NHS aimed at “putting the patient first”.

In a written statement to MPs yesterday, Jeremy Hunt said: “Local people suf­fered too much for too long under a system which ignored appalling failures of care.  They now deserve to know that same system has learned the lessons and is guaranteeing high-­quality, safe services for local people.”

Hospital death rates are "persistently" high

Six NHS trusts have “persistently” high death rates for patients who die in hospital or within 30 days of discharge, according to new data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The six trusts with persistently high death rates are Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wye Valley NHS TrustBlackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Several of these trusts, including Blackpool, Aintree and Colchester, have featured in other lists – compiled by the Care Quality Commission and analysts Dr Foster – warning of high death rates. Blackpool has also been investigated by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. Colchester is being investigated by police over alleged falsification of cancer waiting times, have had higher than expected death rates over two years.

A further 12 trusts are also considered “outliers” because they have had death rates below expected levels for two years, the report showed

Twelve trusts with lower than expected death rates included Barts Health NHS Trust, and Cambridge University Hospitals and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trusts.

10 year old girl left brain damaged after hospital negligence

Maisha Najeeb has been awarded compensation after she was accidentally injected with glue into her brain causing permanent brain damage.

Maisha was having treatment for a rare medical condition, which involved her arteries and veins becoming tangled.

Maisha was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in June 2010, and was to undergo treatment to inject glue to block off bleeding blood vessels.

As part of the procedure, a dye was meant to be injected into an artery in Maisha’s brain to check her blood flow.  During the procedure the two syringes got mixed up, glue was injected instead of the dye, and as a result, Maisha suffered brain damage.

The Hospital Trust admitted liability for Maisha’s injuries, and has apologised unreservedly for the poor care that she received.

Maisha lives with her family in Ilford, London, and Maisha’s father recently told the BBC that he was “devastated” by what had happened.

Maisha’s family brought the case against the Hospital Trust, hoping that lessons will have been learned to avoid the same happening to other families.

A Judge at London’s High Court approved the settlement against Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust in the sum of £2.8m lump sum.

Maisha is now 13 and she will also receive £383,000 per year until she turns 19 and £423,000 thereafter for the rest of her life. These regular payments will allow Maisha’s family to put in place a care regime to help meet Maisha’s needs.

£30,000 compensation awarded after failure to close a wound claim

In February 2009 Andrea was diagnosed with a large peri-anal skin tag. She had surgery to remove the tag at a surgical of Ashton-Leigh & Wigan NHS Trust in April. 

Andrea was advised that a haemorrhoidectomy had also been performed at the time of the tag removal, as it had been attached to a haemorrhoid. She was discharged the same day with painkilling medication and fybrogel.

Andrea was not advised about post-operative wound care or how to manage her bowel movements post surgery. Although her surgeon had recommended she was discharged with lactulose and tramadol, Andrea did not receive this medication. She suffered extreme pain throughout the night and as she passed a bowel movement her stitches burst, causing more pain and increased bleeding.

Andrea re-attended the surgical centre, but was not admitted. She subsequently attended Accident & Emergency on 27 April and 2 May. On both occasions she was discharged with further pain relief medication.

On 4 June 2009 Andrea was discharged from the outpatient clinic at the surgical centre. The discharge summary stated she was asymptomatic with a small, nicely healing wound. Andrea claimed she was continuing to have significant pain and bleeding.

On 23 March 2010, Andrea was examined by a colorectal surgeon. She had been referred by her GP, and it was discovered that she had a chronic posterior anal fissure. The surgeon was of the opinion that it had resulted from a non-healing wound, and anal rectal physiology studies were requested. Luckily there was no evidence of damage to the muscles and Andrea had a botox injection in January 2011 under general anaesthetic.

The NHS Trust disputed liability.

A claim was brought by Andrea on the basis that her symptoms were permanent and she would require the use of ongoing laxatives. She was also at an increased risk of developing further fissures in the future and this was especially likely during a pregnancy. Andrea also claimed that she would require an anal advancement flap operation in the future. She also experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and a depressive disorder.

The Trust alleged that the performance of the surgery had been appropriate, and there was a factor of dispute about whether lactulose had actually been prescribed.

The matter surged forward in a total sum of £30,000.00, and it is estimated that £21,000.00 of that award related to pain suffering and loss of amenity.

Julie Marsh, a member of Boyes Turner’s medical negligence claims group, commented:

“Cases involving anal fissures are very difficult to bring, as it is sometimes difficult to identify the cause. However in this case it was clear that a failure to monitor Andrea following the original procedure and potentially even the original procedure itself, was constituted negligent care. The settlement in this case suggests that Andrea settled the claim on the basis that the Trust were denying liability and the risk that Andrea faced in not being able to recover any compensation at all.”

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