Revealed: Plastic left inside patient

Scarborough Hospital, where a woman had to be cut open to remove a bit of plastic - after surgeons left it in her during an operation
Scarborough Hospital, where a woman had to be cut open to remove a bit of plastic - after surgeons left it in her during an operation
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A woman had to be sliced open again by Scarborough Hospital surgeons after part of a medical instrument was left inside her during the first operation.

Bosses at the Woodlands Drive site launched an investigation in the wake of the potentially dangerous ‘never event’, with a Freedom of Information request bringing the hushed up gaffe to light.

Scarborough Hospital

Scarborough Hospital

However NHS chiefs are refusing to publicly release the full findings of the internal probe - despite a leading director of the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust that runs the hospital insisting it’s “committed to being open and honest”.

Now the councillor in charge of scrutinising Scarborough’s health providers has slammed the body for failing to be “transparent”, vowing to make his own public enquiries into the investigation.

“It’s absolutely vital that all the facts are made clear as to just what went wrong,” said Cllr David Jeffels, chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

“I’m anxious to see the findings of this report, and as chair, I will be making my own enquiries to ascertain what happened in this case.”

Despite withholding the full report, the trust has been forced to disclose several damming revelations stemming from the “worrying” incident.

The trust:

• Was forced to apologise to the female patient, who was aged between 60 and 65 when she went under the knife.

• Changed hospital equipment, after plastic from the surgical tool fell inside her.

• Admitted such a serious error should “never happen”, with senior staff grilled as part of a thorough investigation.

Despite the revelation, Medical Director Alastair Turnbull still insists Scarborough Hospital patients receive “high quality, safe care” at the site.

“The chances of a ‘never event’ occurring are very small,” he said. “As a trust we take treat such events very seriously, with an immediate, thorough investigation to determine the causes and how we can prevent a recurrence.”

“However, ‘never events’ should be just that, events that never happen and on the rare occasion when something goes wrong we are committed to being open and honest in declaring incidents which we feel will improve patient safety and enable lessons to be learned.”

But despite multiple requests by The Scarborough News, the trust has refused to disclose even a redacted copy of the report.

It claims it’s “impossible to adequately anonymise” the patient, thus breaching data protection laws - and saving her from “embarrassment”.

However, Cllr Jeffels added: “Anonymity is fine, but we need to know the facts, and I just hope the trust go down that road in the interest of giving people confidence in it.”

The trust says no legal action was brought against it for the error, and the unnamed woman eventually made a full recovery.

It also claims the second operation to remove the “tiny” object had already been planned.

And Mr Turnbull added: “Since July 2012 when Scarborough Hospital became part of trust there has been one never event at Scarborough Hospital.

“In this case, the problem was rapidly identified and the patient made a full recovery.

“An investigation was undertaken to minimise the risk of this happening again, changes were made to equipment and a full apology was given.”