A Hospital is to pay £10,000 compensation to a client of Hudgell Solicitors whose hip replacement procedure had to be cancelled – as she laid on the operating table – due to a mix-up over blood supplies.
Helen Corcoran, 63, says she was disgusted with her treatment at Grantham and District Hospital in Lincolnshire, accusing doctors of treating her with no respect and ‘like a piece of meat’.
She had been due to undergo the operation to replace her right hip after suffering pain for more than a year, and had already had two blood tests and a pre-operation assessment to ensure all was in hand.
However, moments before surgery was due to start a nurse realised the necessary blood supplies – the need for which had been identified during her two previous assessments – had not been delivered to site.
Mrs Corcoran had already been given the pain-killer Oxycontin, which was administered through a cannula, and an anaesthetist was also preparing give her an epidural ready for surgery to start.
“The entire experience was horrendous, I was treated like a piece of meat” said Mrs Corcoran, who admits to being fearful of surgery anyhow.
“I was already starting to shake considerably from having had the pain-killer, and of course when you are having an operation you naturally worry about things potentially going wrong. Then all of a sudden the nurse said ‘where are the bloods?”
Having specialist blood supplies on hand had been identified as a must before surgery, in case of the need for a transfusion, due to high levels of antibodies which had been found in Mrs Corcoran’s blood during tests.
Mrs Corcoran says she then heard a conversation in which the surgeon told the anaesthetist he intended to press ahead with the operation regardless.
“There was a conversation about the situation and I was told it would take 12 hours to get the blood from Sheffield. Whilst all this was happening, I was feeling quite unwell and starting to panic,” she added.
“They discussed the missing bloods, and the surgeon said he intended to go ahead anyway. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Thankfully the anaesthetist said he couldn’t do it, as the surgeon showed me no respect at all, it was disgusting.
“The surgeon was showing no regard for my well-being. It was appalling.”
Following legal representation from Hudgell Solicitors, Mrs Corcoran has now received an official apology from United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Grantham and District Hospital. It has also offered to pay her £10,000 by means of compensation.
The operation had been due to take place in January, but due to the cancellation, and Mrs Corcoran’s reluctance to return to the same hospital since, she has been left awaiting the surgery for a further eight months.
Now she hopes to have the operation elsewhere, before the turn of the year.
“If I try and do too much during the day I am in agony. I use a walking stick and when I want to go upstairs I have to crawl on all fours. I wouldn’t be in this pain now if doctors had simply done their job and ensured the bloods were on site,” she added.
She says the experience has changed the way she views the medical profession, and the NHS
“I had always been someone who thought you could trust the doctors to get things right, but not after this,” she said,
“There was an air of poor organisation all day, from when I was in the waiting room beforehand, to being in the operating theatre and the chaos around the bloods, and then afterwards on the ward. I decided there and then I wouldn’t be going back.”
Amy McNeillie, who represented Mrs Corcoran, and said: “This is a clear example of a patient being subjected to poor care, from which she has now suffered from many months of more pain due to this operation not going ahead as it should have done.
“It is always a worrying time for any patient when they are facing surgery, so for Mrs Corcoran to prepare herself mentally for this procedure, and even get as far as being in her gowns and on the operating table when it was cancelled, is unacceptable.”