Royal Surrey Hospital apologises for discharging patient with two fractures

October 31, 2014
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The Royal Surrey County Hospital
has said failings that led to a patient being discharged with two fractures not being diagnosed will not be repeated.

An investigation was carried out examining the care a patient received at the hospital following a car accident in 2010. The female patient, referred to as Ms Q to protect her identity, was taken to the hospital’s AE complaining of pain in her chest and neck.

She was kept in overnight and discharged the following morning without any injuries being diagnosed.

After two weeks, Ms Q went to another hospital and had an operation for a fractured sternum. A year later, during a private medical examination, a fracture in her neck was also diagnosed.

The investigation that was sparked by a complaint by the patient concluded that both injuries originated from the accident.

A report resulting from the investigation, by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, was published this week and said the Royal Surrey should have given Ms Q a CT scan, which would have diagnosed the injuries.

The report said the complainant’s concerns were that the hospital did not apologise properly or do enough to put things right.

It was recommended that the trust apologised to Ms Q, pay her £2,000 and produce an action plan.

‘Sincere apologies’

Ombudsman Julie Mellor, said: “These investigations highlight the devastating impact failures in public services can have on the lives of individuals and their families. We are committed to being more open and transparent about our investigations and are publishing these summaries so people can see the types of complaints we look into.

“We hope this gives people the confidence to come to us to complain and shows how complaining makes a positive difference to the complainant and public services.”

A spokesman for the Royal Surrey hospital admitted this week there had been failings.

“This investigation concerns a patient who was involved in a road traffic accident in 2010,” a spokesman said. “The X-ray examinations performed here, at the time of the accident, did not identify injuries subsequently diagnosed on a CT scan performed at another hospital.

“The trust has written to the patient to offer our sincere apologies that we failed to diagnose the patient’s injuries at the time of her admission. We are very sorry that this resulted in a prolonged and unreasonable  period of discomfort for her.

“Since the patient’s admission the trust has made major changes to its trauma care pathway, as a recognised trauma unit in the London South West and Surrey Trauma Network. It is now  an expected standard that patients involved in serious road traffic accidents should have a CT scan, which is a more sensitive investigation to detect injury than X-rays performed on this patient.

“We now perform a CT scan within one hour of a patient’s arrival in the emergency department and all trauma patients are reviewed by an AE consultant.

“As part of the governance of the Trauma Network Group and Clinical Commissioning Group, the Royal Surrey is subject to frequent robust reviews of its trauma care and we are confident that the failings identified by this Ombudsman report will not be repeated.”

Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/health/royal-surrey-hospital-apologises-discharging-8030236


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