Revealed: the 750 hospital mistakes that should never have happened - including 7in forceps left inside woman for three months after surgery

Investigation shows 322 cases of "foreign objects" left inside patients' bodies, 214 of surgery on the wrong body part and 58 where patients were fitted with the wrong implant

Hundreds of hospital patients have suffered basic, preventable mistakes that should "never" happen in the NHS during the last four years including having surgical instruments left inside them and operations being carried out on the wrong body part, figures suggest.

In the last four years more than 750 patients at hospitals in England suffered "never events" - which are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents, according to figures obtained by Freedom of Information requests.

The data, collected by BBC Radio 4's World At One, found that there were 322 cases of "foreign objects" such as surgical instruments or swabs inside patients' bodies, 214 had surgery on the wrong body part, 73 patients had feeding tubes inserted into their lungs, and 58 patients were fitted with the wrong implant, among other incidents.

The news comes as a mother-of-four told how she was left with seven-inch forceps inside her for three months following an operation.

Donna Bowett, a former nurse, went to Alexandra Hospital in Worcestershire in February 2009 to undergo keyhole surgery to remove her gallbladder.

For the months that followed the surgery she suffered "excruciating" pain, she said.

Doctors could not explain her pain and sent her for an MRI scan - but the magnetic field from the scan caused the metal inside her body to move.

The scan was stopped when Ms Bowett started screaming with pain. Afterwards she said it felt like the instrument was trying to "pull through her skin".

The blunder was eventually picked up on an x-ray.

"I couldn't believe the pain of the MRI scan," said Ms Bowett, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

"Doctors asked if I had any metal on me or in my body as the scanner uses magnets, but because I was completely unaware I said no. In reality the magnets were moving the forceps inside me and trying to pull them through my skin.

"They were unable to finish the scan because I was in so much pain and I was sent for an x-ray instead. I remember the nurse saying, 'don't worry Donna, the days of them leaving instruments inside patients are long gone'. It had never even crossed my mind.

"When they found out it was forceps inside me I was told there was a risk the forceps could have damaged my bowel which is life threatening and that I might not pull through the operation. I just could not believe what was happening to me."

The 42-year-old, who still suffers pain as a result of the error, was forced to quit her role as a nurse and take on an admin role.

Ms Bowett added: "I am devastated that such a thing could happen. There is no excuse for it and I hope improvements are made and staff are trained to ensure nothing like this can happen to anyone else. I'm grateful I am now able to fund the therapy, medication and treatment I need but I still have questions as to why it happened in the first place."

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, paid out a six-figure sum to pay for Ms Bowett's ongoing care and rehabilitation.

Lindsay Tomlinson, from the law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represented Ms Bowett, said: "This constitutes a 'never event' according to the NHS's own patient safety guidelines which recognises that such occurrences are unacceptable and completely preventable if the appropriate procedures have been implemented.

"Never events should be just that, events which just do not happen, and it is imperative that trusts across the entire country invest in training to ensure every step is taken to protect the safety of patients and prevent injury where at all possible."

Dr Mike Durkin, director of patient safety for NHS England, told the BBC: "Every single never event is one too many".

He added that NHS England had started collating the data to help educate staff on better practice.

"We need to understand what it is, in some systems and in some hospitals, that the team working hasn't produced an effective outcome and a mistake, and a 'never event' has occurred," he said.

"This is not just the concern of one operating theatre in one hospital. It should be the concern of the leadership of that organisation, of the trust, so that they lead that trust and support both the staff in the operating theatres to work effectively, but also recognise their responsibility for leading safety across the whole of the trust."

PA

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine