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article imageSwab left in British man after surgery contributes to his death

By Gemma Fox     Jun 11, 2010 in Health
Leicester - An inquest into the death of a 64-year old man from Lincolnshire, England has found that his death was in part caused by a medical swab left inside of him after surgery.
The inquest into the death of Bernard Johnson heard that he had surgery for heart disease in Glenfield Hospital, Leicester in 2009.
A nurse, Krishna Rungen had become aware during surgery that a swab was missing but failed to alert anyone until the surgery was over.
Mr Johnson was taken back into surgery to have the swab removed from his chest but it had partly caused a major infection and nine days later the 64-year old died of multiple organ failure caused by the severe infection.
Mark Hickey, the surgeon involved, said that the swab could easily have been removed if he had been told at the time of surgery that it was missing.
Glenfield Hospital said that procedure had been tightened but Coroner Catherine Mason was critical of the hospital and it's staffing levels, in giving her verdict she said, "The evidence makes it clear to me that there were systems and procedures in place at the time of the surgery but these were not followed. In addition there were distractions in the theatre and staffing levels caused further pressure to an environment already dealing with a complex and lengthy procedure."
Sharon Groves-Johnson, widow of the deceased has already stated that the family are considering further legal action.
Mr Johnson's solicitor, Sally-Ann Robinson said of the incident, "This could be repeated - it might happen again if they don't have adequate staffing levels, because they're under such pressure in the theatre. And that, obviously, is what needs tackling. Not just having the system in place, but making sure the staffing level's there to ensure that the systems can be followed."
Scottish report on swabs and instruments left in patients
This news comes only a few days after an article in Scottish newspaper The Scotsman which detailed the amount of debris left inside patients during operations in Scottish hospitals. Items included in the report were swabs, needles and forceps.
Worryingly, Borders General Hospital reported that one patient had left hospital with a set of forceps inside them. Forceps are typically 6 to 8 inches in length.
Fragments of drills, needles, tubes and swabs were reported as being left in patients across the Scottish NHS health boards.
The health boards also highlighted the issue of patients have other organs torn or punctured during surgery. Bowels, stomachs, bladders, a uterus and a trachea were all organs reported to have been punctured or damaged during surgery on other organs in the patients body.
More about Swabs, Bernard johnson, Glenfield, Coroner, Inquest
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