Compensation for Operation on Wrong Side of Heart

A man, who was woken during surgery to tell him that his heart operation had gone wrong, has received a six-figure sum in compensation after making a medical negligence claim.

Steve Edwards (51) from Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, was having a minor heart procedure at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in 2008 when the error occurred. During the surgery, an item of equipment slipped, causing a radio pulse to be applied to the wrong side of his heart.

The error meant that Mr Edwards would require a pacemaker to be fitted, and the heavily anaesthetised was brought around to advise him of the treatment he required. Mr Edwards claimed in his action against the Bristol Royal Infirmary that he did not appreciate the severity of the issue at the time, and it was only in an outpatient´s appointment ten weeks later that the full extent of the error became known.

Despite three subsequent attempts at corrective surgery, Mr Edwards will now have to wear the pacemaker for the rest of his life – meaning that he will have to undergo surgery once every seven years to replace the battery. The Bristol Royal Infirmary admitted negligence and agreed a six-figure sum in compensation with Mr Edwards´ legal representatives in an out-of-court settlement.

In a statement, the Bristol Royal Infirmary stated “Technical errors during Mr Edwards’ cardiac ablation procedure resulted in the catheter moving and radio frequency energy being delivered to the wrong side of his heart. Further checks have been introduced to ensure that the catheter is perfectly placed before radio frequency energy is delivered.”