Archive for November 2014

MSP Requests Review of Compensation for C-diff Infection Families

The Scottish Parliament has heard calls for a review of the amount put aside to pay the families of victims – who died from medical negligence – compensation for a C-diff infection.

Jackie Baillie – the Dunbartonshire Member of the Scottish Parliament – raised the question of compensation for a C-diff infection the day after the release of Lord MacLean´s report into the tragic deaths of thirty four patients from Clostridium difficile related infections at Dunbartonshire´s Vale of Leven Hospital between 2007 and 2008.

Clostridium difficile (C-diff) is bacteria which live harmlessly in the gut of one-in-ten adults until the gut flora is disturbed – for example by a course of antibiotics. Thereafter it can multiply quickly and produce poisonous spores which cause diarrhoea in healthy people, and far more serious conditions in patients with compromised immune systems.

Lord MacLean´s report cited substandard nursing care and deficiencies in medical staffing as the primary factors which facilitated the spread of airborne spores and resulted in the infection of 143 patients. However, he added that the death of thirty four patients at the hospital should ultimately be attributed to governance and management failures by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

The outbreak of C-diff – Lord MacLean commented – was also attributable to the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics such as amoxicillin and cefalexin – these drugs killing the healthy gut bacteria which would have prevented the development of the C-diff bacteria. His report concluded “such personal suffering should never be allowed to happen again”.

The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board has already acknowledged that its failings were responsible for the death of thirty four patients from illnesses related to Clostridium difficile,  A fund of £1 million has been put aside to pay compensation for the C-diff infection fatalities to the families of the victims. However, at the Scottish Parliament, that amount was brought into question.

Clearly emotional, Jackie Baillie – who represents many of the families struck by the tragedy – said that the amount of compensation for the C-diff infection families was inappropriate in relation to the £10 million that had been spent conducting the investigation into the outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital and producing Lord MacLean´s report.

Mrs Baillie called on the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport – Shona Robison – to review the amount of compensation for C-diff infection families, claiming that “justice has not yet been done”.  Mrs Robison replied by saying that detailed discussions were ongoing and that she agreed with her colleague that those hurt by acts of clinical negligence “should be adequately compensated”.

Read More

Patients Receive Overdose of Antibiotics during Cataract Surgery

Several patients at the Mount Stuart Hospital in Torquay will likely be entitled to medical negligence compensation after receiving an overdose of antibiotics during cataract surgery.

The error came to light after two patients attended the A&E Department at Torbay Hospital complaining of eyesight problems after undergoing cataract surgery on the same day in July. After an investigation was conducted into their similar eyesight difficulties, it became apparent that both patients had received an overdose of antibiotics during cataract surgery.

The Mount Stuart Hospital immediately suspended cataract surgery and launched an investigation. The nineteen patients who had undergone cataract surgery on July 26 were recalled for an immediate review and, although none of the patients needed corrective surgery, two patients were identified as “seriously harmed”, while four others “showed symptoms” of an eye injury.

The investigation revealed that the overdose of antibiotics during the cataract surgery was due to the antibiotic being diluted for sub-conjunctive use (just underneath the clear surface of the eye), but administered intracamerally (into a chamber deeper within the eye). A hospital spokesperson said that the same antibiotic would have been use for both procedures, but the concentration mix is different.

“Process failure” and “human” error” were blamed for the patients receiving an overdose of antibiotics during cataract surgery and following the investigation the consultant surgeon, the surgeon´s assistant and a circulating practitioner were suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. Cataract surgery has now resumed at the Mount Stuart Hospital.

Speaking about the unfortunate incident, Gill Gant, from the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are satisfied that the hospital has learned important lessons from this incident and that it has acted swiftly to make the necessary changes that will ensure future safety for patients.” A statement made by the Mount Stuart Hospital said that the hospital offered its sincere apologies to all the patients that had been injured due to the consultant surgeon´s medical negligence.

Read More