Post Operation Infection
A routine knee operation had tragic consequences after a 31-year-old father died days after the operation when doctors failed to spot crucial symptoms of an infection.
Sean Phillips banged his left knee after jumping over a traffic bollard during an engagement party in London. When the knee continued to give him trouble, he was sent to hospital where doctors found he had torn the tendon.
Mr Phillips had minor surgery to repair the tendon at Southampton General Hospital on 23 June 2000. But unfortunately the father of one died of staphylococcus toxic shock syndrome on 27 June 2000 after he had a rare reaction to toxins produced by a staphylococcus aureus wound infection.
Hampshire police launched an investigation interviewing around 200 witnesses. The detective leading the investigation into Mr Phillips death reported that he had a very rare complication of a common infection, raising his pulse and temperature, lowering his blood pressure and causing his kidneys to fail. Despite warnings from the nurses caring for Mr Phillips, the doctors were negligent in failing to notice the abnormal pulse, temperature and blood pressure levels. They failed to recognise the seriousness of the patient's condition or provide any appropriate diagnosis or treatment.
A course of course of broad spectrum antibiotics would have killed the bacteria and prevented them from multiplying, but no such medication was prescribed.
Post operation infection caused septic shock and acute renal failure
Mr Phillips developed a red rash on his torso, his arms and legs were cold but he was conscious and awake by the time a doctor diagnosed septic shock and acute renal failure. He was eventually given broad spectrum antibiotic and fluids and transferred to an emergency ward, but the patient suffered a heart attack and did not regain consciousness.
Senior house officers Amit Misra and Rajeev Srivastava have subsequently been convicted of the manslaughter of Mr Phillips by gross negligence and both were sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years and were suspended by the GMC.
Southampton University Hospital Trust was also fined £100,000 under the Health and Safety Act after pleading guilty to failing to supervise doctors at the hospital.