Investigation Report Finds Another Patient Suffered Burns Previously Leading To Use Of Mattresses Being Stopped
A patient who suffered “significant” burns when a hospital wrongly used a heated mattress during surgery is calling for lessons to be learned.
And an NHS investigation report found Paul Hickman suffered his injuries after the use of heated mattresses was stopped in the type of procedure he underwent after another patient was burnt several years earlier.
The 43-year-old underwent surgery to improve the circulation in his leg at Russell Hall Hospital in Dudley in March 2021. However, after the procedure, he complained of severe pain and it emerged that he had burns to his thigh and buttocks.
Patient who suffered burns asks medical negligence lawyers to investigate
Paul, of who lives near Walsall town centre, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate.
He has now joined his legal team in calling for lessons to be learned. It comes after a Root Cause Analysis Report by Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russell Hall Hospital, classed what happened to Paul as a major incident.
The Trust found the use of alcohol-based solution during Paul’s preparation for surgery and the “inappropriate use” of a heated mattress in surgery led to his burns.
The “unusual combination created the ideal circumstances to create a significant burn” on Paul, the report said.
It added Paul’s injuries were sustained after another patient suffered burns in 2016 which led to the “complete stopping” of heated mattresses being used in certain vascular procedures.
Lawyers calls for lessons to be learned
Alexandra Roberts, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Paul, said: “The severity of the injuries Paul suffered needs to be acknowledged, with the Trust itself declaring what happened as a major incident.
“Understandably what happened to Paul has had a physical and mental impact upon him. What is particularly worrying is that the injuries he suffered came after a fellow patient was injured in a similar incident and the Trust had taken measures to apparently avoid a repeat of this happening.
“While it’s too late for Paul it is now vital that lessons are learned from what happened to Paul and that the Trust ensures its guidance is upheld at all times to maintain patient safety.”
Surgery burns: Walsall man Paul Hickman's story
Looking back on the incident, Paul said: “It was a very worrying time and I obviously hoped that the surgery would go well. However, afterwards I remember just being in a lot of pain. When I was told that I had suffered burns, I was shocked and confused. I couldn’t understand how that had happened.
“The pain from the burns and scars I had all down the back of the tops of my legs was unbearable. I was in so much pain and painkillers didn’t really take the edge off.
“While the burns are starting to heal I still have a lot of marks and scars where they have been and I’ve been told some of the scarring won’t disappear so will be with me for life. Because of the scars I now also have to sit differently and lean more to the side. They feel dry and scaly and I have to apply cream.
“What makes what happened to me even more shocking is hearing about the previous incident. I hope that by speaking out I can help prevent yet another similar incident happening. This has happened twice and I don’t want it to happen again.”