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October 5th 2012

Medical Negligence

The problem with Catheters…

The problem with Catheters…

We have been instructed recently on a few cases involving trauma caused by catheters.

We have been instructed recently on a few cases involving trauma caused by catheters.

When the Daily Mail reported on similar issues this made us consider how often this is occurring. The report states that in 2008 approximately 41-58% of catheters were fitted unnecessarily and, given our experience, we believe this is an ongoing problem.

In the Daily Mail on Tuesday 25th September 2012 they reported on a story where a lady had a catheter fitted without prior consent because it would be “inappropriate” for her to be getting out of bed after surgery. The lady in question was having surgery to deal with a nerve problem in her face and it was not likely that she would be immobile post surgery….   She ended up contracting MRSA and then for the following 3 years suffered ongoing problems with urinary tract infections. 

The report also stated that the lady is one of thousands of patients who develop complications from catheters each year and that catheters are responsible for at least 80% of all Hospital acquired urinary tract infections.  Patients have a 10% chance of developing an infection from the catheter for every day they have one in place.

The story in the Daily Mail takes a whole page as it then goes on to consider the issue of how catheters are fitted and what can go wrong if the wrong type of catheter is fitted.   You may not be aware but there are different types of catheters, dependant upon whether you are male or female.   The consequences to a man of having a female catheter fitted can be horrendous and can lead to bleeding, swelling and infection, and in the most acute of cases kidney failure.   This is something that we are familiar with and we understand from our clients the severity of pain and embarrassment that this can cause.

A report published by the National Patient Safety Agency found that between the period June 2006 and December 2008 a total of 114 female catheters were inserted in male patients.

The story also highlights that catheterisation is an increasing problem in care homes where some homes are making it policy to catheterise their residents to make care and cleaning easier for their staff, despite whether there is any clinical need for the catheter.  This is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed.

You can find a link to the story here:

If you, or a member of your family has been affected by inappropriate catheterisation or, have suffered some trauma as a result of failed attempts to insert a catheter please contact our medical negligence solicitors for further advice on 0808 252 7043

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