Sheffield hospital bosses apologise after woman loses ovary in surgery error

Northern General Hospital
Northern General Hospital

Sheffield hospital bosses have apologised after a woman lost an ovary due to a surgery blunder.

Latest documents published by Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said the error occurred as a woman underwent surgery to have her womb removed as part of her treatment for cervical cancer.

But during surgery, the blood supply to the right ovary got tied up by mistake causing the tissue to die. As a consequence, the right ovary and fallopian tube had to be removed.

a patient with a white patch on both sides of their mouth was given an appointment in oral surgery to have a biopsy on the right side. When they attended the biopsy was taken from the left side in error. Tests indicated that the patch was benign and a further biopsy of the right side was also benign.

The two incidents were recorded as 'never events' which are serious incidents that are 'entirely preventable' according to NHS Improvement.

Never events are serious incidents that are entirely preventable as guidance, or safety recommendations providing strong systemic protective barriers, are available at a national level, and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers

Dr David Throssell, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We carry out thousands of operations successfully every year and because healthcare has a human factor we do put in place measures to mitigate the potential for errors.

"On the rare occasions when an error does occur we take it very seriously and investigate the circumstances to determine if any further precautions can be taken. Regrettably two errors have been made in recent weeks which we are very sorry have occurred.

"In the first case the patient had white patches on both of their cheeks, a tiny sample was due to be taken for examination from the inside of the right cheek but it was taken from the left in error. As soon as the error was realised, a second sample was taken from the right cheek and both samples were found to be benign.

"In the second incident the blood supply to a patient’s right ovary was ligated by mistake which sadly resulted in the removal of the ovary and fallopian tube.

"We have apologised and explained to both of the patients involved what happened and we will of course be sharing the outcome of the review into their care with them."

Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust run the Royal Hallamshire, Northern General, Weston Park cancer hospital, Jessop maternity wing and Charles Clifford Dental Hospital.

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