Bristol Dentist 'Pulled Wrong Tooth'

A Bristol Dentist Pulled The Wrong Tooth From A Patient In Surgery Carried Out Earlier This Year


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A series of wrongful surgeries were carried out by medical professionals at Bristol Royal Infirmary earlier this year, with incidents in both April and May highlighted.

Bristol NHS Foundation Trust revealed a dentist was found to have pulled the wrong tooth from a patient in an incident that was deemed to have been wholly avoidable had proper procedures been carried out, the Bristol Post reports.

The accident took place during a multiple extraction surgery, with the dentists wrongly identifying a tooth at the back of the patient's mouth as needing to be removed.

A spokesperson for the trust told the newspaper: "The patient was informed of the error as soon as it was identified and an apology was given. Remedial treatment in the form of re-implanting the tooth was offered, but declined."
They added that prior to the extraction procedure a surgical safety checklist had been completed by staff, while the appropriate x-rays were on display for the surgeon throughout the procedure.

During the following month, a patient received surgery on their hand that saw a ligament cut when they should have been receiving treatment to release tension in their tendon.

The mix-up saw the doctor carry out a carpal tunnel release when they should have been doing a De Quervain's release, a very similar procedure.

It was a situation that was quickly rectified, however, with the patient in question given full information on the incident.

A statement by the trust's representative disclosed: "The patient was informed of the error as soon as it was identified and an apology was given. The patient elected to have the correct procedure the same day and it was performed uneventfully."

In both cases, the trust's spokesperson stated the body had completed a full root cause analysis and is now in the process of identifying any areas for improvement in future processes based on the lessons learned.

No further incidents have been reported at any of the trust's hospitals over the following months.

Expert Opinion
These incidents of wrongful surgery reported to have taken place at medical facilities under the control of the University of Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust are deeply troubling and simply should not happen.

“Through our work we have seen numerous cases where poor standards of care and a failure to follow procedure have led to devastating consequences for patients.

“Patient care should always be a top priority and it is vital that the Trust takes steps to reassure the public that measures have been taken to address the failings and ensure systems have been introduced so they cannot be repeated in the future.”
Julie Lewis, Partner