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Hospital apologises after forceps left inside patient after surgery

Incident, which is termed a ‘never event’, happened at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch

Richard Vernalls
Friday 23 December 2022 14:19 GMT
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised (PA)

A hospital is investigating after forceps were left inside a patient after surgery.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised and said the incident at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital, and first reported by the BBC, was “exceptionally rare”.

The error happened during a seven-hour abdominal procedure on November 23 2022, it is understood.

The six-inch metal forceps had to be located using x-ray while the patient was still under anaesthetic.

There are clear and well-established processes in place to protect patients from this kind of event.

Matthew Hopkins, trust chief executive

But they could not be immediately removed and the patient was moved to intensive care overnight before an operation the next day.

Any investigation into what hospitals term as a “never event” would have to establish how the forceps came to be overlooked.

The trust said there are “clear and well-established processes” in place to prevent such incidents happening.

Usually, all instruments are counted and checked before the patient is closed up, with a further audit at the end of surgery.

Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “We are aware of an incident which involved a surgical instrument being left inside a patient following surgery.

Never events are wholly preventable incidents with the potential to cause serious harm or death to a patient. Because of measures already in place to prevent them, they should never happen.

“There are clear and well-established processes in place to protect patients from this kind of event, which are exceptionally rare.

“We are currently carrying out an investigation into what happened.

“The patient and their family have been informed as part of our duty of candour.

“We have apologised unreservedly to the patient and promised to share the findings of our investigation with them once it is completed.”

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