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More bits 'missing' in operations at East Lancashire hospitals
9:27am Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
DRILL tips, screws and part of a needle were among items suspected to have been left inside patients who had surgery at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals.
Figures obtained by the Lancashire Telegraph under Freedom of Information Act laws revealed an increasing number of incidents where foreign objects went ‘missing’ before procedures were complete.
There were nine cases reported at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) last year, five of which happened at Burnley.
Seven incidents were reported in 2011/12, five in 2010/11, three in 2009/10, and one in 2008/09.
The figures included 11 surgical screws, nine surgical drill tips, three guide wires, a surgical introducer sheath and part of surgical suture needle.
In every case it was decided that trying to locate or remove the item would have caused more damage than leaving it within the patient.
Bosses said patients would normally be informed if an object was thought to be inside them and none of the incidents resulted in negligence claims.
ELHT carries out thousands of surgical procedures each year.
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Vinod Shah, said: “We must remember that these cases are very rare but unfortunately mistakes can happen. Surgeons and other theatre staff are encouraged to report these incidents, which occur when a bit breaks off the equipment used.
“In all cases reasonable attempts are made to remove the broken bits. However, in some circumstances a decision is made leave it in place because further action to locate and/or retrieve would be more damaging.
“As these parts are inert, they do not result in any harm to the patients “It is our normal practice to inform the patient if something has had to be left in them and any concerns have always been resolved at a local level.”