Hospital blunders investigated by Melanie Hall

Help Me Investigate user Melanie Hall has been using Freedom of Information requests to look at ‘hospital blunders': serious untoward incidents (SUIs) and ‘never events’. She reports:

“Surgeons operating on the wrong side of the body, swabs left inside patients after surgery and the wrong implant being used were among the blunders happening at NHS health services across England last year”

Overall, her investigation reveals at least 6,000 serious untoward incidents (SUIs) and more than 100 ‘never events’.  Continue reading

Data: investigating “Never events” (easily avoidable medical mistakes)

Here’s an example of where a little knowledge of jargon can give you a useful lead in finding data.

The Eastbourne Herald report on an FOI-led investigation they have done into “easily avoidable mistakes, known in the health service as Never Events”:

“BUNGLING NHS staff removed incorrect teeth and carried out a biopsy on the wrong part of a patient’s body as part of a catalogue of errors in 2010 and 2011.

“…the Herald FOI found there were seven such incidents between October 2010 and November 2011.

“They included wrong hip surgery, a piece of medical equipment known as a protoscope left inside a patient’s body and a failure to remove a throat pack following dental surgery. There was also a biopsy on the wrong part of someone’s body and a guidewire left in a patient after staff fitted a central venus pressure line.”

A quick advanced search for “Never events” filetype:xls site:nhs.uk brings up a number of spreadsheets with data you can access without an FOI.

Can you do anything with it?

Tip: try changing site:nhs.uk to your local NHS websites, or try changing filetype:xls to filetype:pdf for reports.