Legal Action As Woman Left With Plastic Tube Inside Her For Full Year Following Surgery

Medical Negligence Experts Instructed To Investigate ‘Never Event’

27.08.2015

A woman left with two-and-a-half inches of plastic tubing in her body for an entire year following surgery at a Manchester hospital has now instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how this could have happened.

Helen Reynolds, from Rugeley, in Staffordshire was admitted to Manchester Spire Hospital for gastric bypass surgery on 31 January 2014 following unsuccessful gastric band surgery the previous year. However two months after the latest operation she started to suffer from excruciating pain which forced her to spend the majority of her time unable to leave the home.

After months of agonising pain scans revealed that the foreign object had been left inside her – something on the list of Never Events which doctors say simply should not happen in private or NHS hospitals.

The 50-year-old instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care she received at the hospital and the surgery carried out by Professor Basil Ammori – who has admitted his mistake and apologised for leaving the foreign body inside.

‘Retained foreign object post-operation’ is one of a number of errors on a list of so called ‘never events’ - problems which medical professionals says are simply “unacceptable and eminently preventable”. All medical instruments should be counted in and out of a patient during a procedure and checked by two members of hospital staff as a failsafe. 

Expert Opinion
“This is a devastating case that shows the lasting damage which simple avoidable errors can cause. For two and a half inches of plastic tubing to be left inside Helen for an entire year is completely unacceptable.

“This constitutes a ‘never event’ according to national 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.

“We are now working with Helen to investigate the treatment she received and why the appropriate checks were not carried out by the surgical team to ensure that this didn’t happen.

“Sadly we have seen a number of repeat incidents of retained instruments and swabs despite these having been classed as ‘never events’ by the NHS some years ago. Staff must be better trained to use the correct equipment and follow strict measures to make sure there is no chance any foreign objects can be left inside patients.”
Raman Dhillon, Solicitor

Helen suffers from a condition called Sjogren’s disease which affects the auto immune system. She decided to have weight loss surgery as she was concerned about her health and the arthritis in her knees.

On 8 May 2015, she had a CT scan after suffering from months of agonising pain; her GP diagnosed cysts on her ovaries and further to this a scan revealed a foreign object inside her which she was told needed to be removed urgently.

Helen had an operation on 26 May to remove the object which turned out to be a plastic tube left inside of her when she had a gastric band fitted over a full year before.

Helen, a mother-of-one, said: “I am flabbergasted at how this has happened to me – I suffered for months and months with excruciating pain in my stomach, which I can only describe as like labour pains – my husband was extremely worried as I became very pale and looked ill.

“I finally went to see a consultant at Spire Little Aston Hospital as my GP thought that I might have cysts on my ovaries and would need to have them removed. I had a CT scan which revealed that there was a foreign body near my right pelvis bone – I was completely shocked.

“I hope that my legal team can help me shed light on how this could have happened and why it was undetected for so long with the hope that through speaking out about what happened to me will ensure that this cannot happen to anyone else.”