Serious Incidents Reported at Derriford Hospital

Serious Incidents Reported at Derriford Hospital

Derriford Hospital is a large teaching hospital serving Plymouth and nearby areas of Devon & Cornwall. It is the largest hospital in the south west peninsula providing comprehensive secondary and tertiary healthcare services.

The hospital’s website records that between 93% and 97% of patients would recommend the hospital services but, as the Medical Director, Dr Phil Hughes, has recently been quoted as saying: “Our staff work hard to care for patients and no-one comes to work to cause harm. But because humans are involved, all healthcare settings experience untoward incidents”.

In June 2018, six serious incidents, including one ‘never event’, were recorded by University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust which runs Derriford Hospital.

‘Never events’ include surgical items being left in the body, misplacement of feeding tubes and falls from poorly protected windows. They are serious incidents that are wholly preventable. Each ‘never event’ has the potential to cause serious patient harm or death, although harm is not required to have occurred for an incident to be categorised as a ‘never event’.

The never event related to a patient who had the wrong part of their body operated on at Derriford Hospital.

The other serious incidents included delays in treatment and involved:

  • A patient who was supposed to be referred for chemotherapy but the referral never happened.
  • A patient who attended a Minor Injury Unit but was not seen quickly enough and suffered a loss of vision in one eye.
  • A patient who had surgery cancelled due to a delay in performing a pre-operative test, who was subsequently no longer able to have surgery.

The vast majority of patients who are treated at Derriford Hospital receive very good treatment, but for a small minority, mistakes happen and things do not go as planned. Increasingly, it appears to be administrative errors which result in delays or failures in arranging referrals or tests, considering test results or in arranging treatment that results in a poor outcome. When this happens, the consequences for the patient and their family can be devastating and can have long-term consequences for the patients’ future and their quality of life.

Wolferstans is recognised as one of the leading law firms in the country providing specialist legal services to the victims of medical negligence (also referred to as clinical negligence) in England and Wales. Our team of specialist lawyers act exclusively for patients who have been injured in the course of their medical treatment.

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