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Mortality Rates Following Bowel Surgery ‘Too High’

Specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers Concerned Over Bowel Surgery Care Disparities


A new study carried out by the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit team has found that one in ten patients dies within 30 days of emergency bowel surgery.

The organisation said this figure is “too high” and that in some hospitals care for patients who have undergone urgent, unplanned bowel surgery is lacking. It discovered that expert supervision and best treatment was not always available to patients.

Expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who have successfully represented patients who have suffered serious complications or people who have lost loved ones as a result of failings in bowel surgery care, have expressed concern over the disparity in care standards between hospitals.

More than 20,000 patients at 192 eligible NHS hospitals were audited, with the researchers finding expected standards of care were not met for up to two-fifths of patients in some hospitals and that only half were visited by a consultant surgeon within the recommended 12 hours.

The audit also found one in six patients did not arrive in the operating theatre within the recommended timeframes, despite the surgery being urgent and that many patients at risk of sepsis following the procedures did not receive timely antibiotic therapy.

Professor Mike Grocott, chairman of the audit, said even a modest improvement could have a substantial benefit for patients.

Rachelle Mahapatra, a Partner and expert medical negligence lawyer who has represented those who have suffered serious consequences as a result of failures following bowel surgery, said: 

Expert Opinion
The findings of this bowel surgery care audit and the fact that there are avoidable deaths following surgery is extremely concerning and it is vital steps are taken to improve standards in this area.

“Through our work, we have seen the serious and potentially fatal consequences of poor standards of care following bowel surgeries and is it imperative the findings of this audit are acted upon. Changes need to be made to ensure patients are given access to consultants when required, that they receive the medication they need and that they are reassured care is of the highest standard across all NHS hospitals.
Rachelle Mahapatra, Partner

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