Reports of surgeons removing the wrong body parts doubles in last three years

The number of NHS surgical errors involving surgeons removing the wrong parts and organs from patients has doubled over the last three years.

In 2012/13 the reported number of “wrong site surgeries” was 54, but by 2015/16 the number increased to 135.

In June 2015 a patient’s fallopian tube was removed by surgeons instead of her appendix. The surgical error has greatly reduced the patient’s chances of conceiving a child naturally, in the NHS document it claimed: “Patient pregnant and anatomy distorted.”

A similar excuse was used in August 2015 after a patient’s kidney was removed during an operation instead of a pelvic tumour. The NHS document again claimed the patient had a “distorted anatomy.”

In December 2015 a woman’s ovaries were removed, patients who undergo hysterectomies are given an option of removing ovaries if there is a high risk of ovarian cancer, in this case the surgeon removed the ovaries despite the woman choosing not to have ovary removal surgery.

It was revealed in a report that surgeons had also performed procedures on wrong patients, in Great Western Hospital Swindon, Wiltshire a doctor performed an endoscopy on the wrong patient, as a result of the patient having the “wrong sticker” and a mix-up with consent forms.

‘Never events’

Wrong Site Surgery is one of the types of “never events” – medical mistakes that are not meant to happen under the NHS. This includes surgical items being left in patient’s body and misplacements of feeding tubes.

In 2015/16 the figure of never events were found to be at its highest in last five years, with 245 never events cases being reported.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) said: “While these incidents are very rare, never should mean never.

“Learning from mistakes and using best practice and guidance to avoid such errors should be the priority of every medical and surgical team across the country.”

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