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Investigation after a swab is left in woman
9:30am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a swab was found to have been left inside a maternity patient after she gave birth at the Great Western Hospital.
It has been revealed a woman had a swab left inside her after giving birth at the Swindon hospital. There were no adverse effects and it was removed at a follow-up appointment two days later.
The incident is described as a ‘never event’, which are serious patient safety incidents that, by definition, should not happen. There have been two never events this year at hospitals run by the Great Western Hospital Trust, while five never events occurred within the trust in the two years prior to December 2012.
In April, a woman had a swab left inside her for ten days after giving birth at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, run by the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
In December last year the Adver reported a patient, who had gone in for surgery at the Swindon hospital for suspected breast cancer that August, had a medical swab left inside her for seven weeks without anyone noticing. It was only at a follow up appointment nearly two months later in Oxford that it was found and removed.
Dr Helen Price, consultant paediatrician at GWH NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This incident should not have happened and we have apologised to the woman involved.
“The lady did not come to any harm as a result of this incident. In certain types of surgery it is common practice to intentionally leave a vaginal pack in place as part of the therapeutic treatment plan. Bacterial infections are very uncommon and can happen at any time, regardless of the length of time a swab or tampon is left in situ.
“The importance of documenting a completed swab count in women’s health records continues to be raised as a priority at regular safety briefings, which occur at every shift handover across our maternity services.
“In addition to regular reviews of documentation, random spot checks are being carried out to check processes are being meticulously followed.
“We take incidents like this very seriously and are currently investigating, taking into account a previous incident, why this happened and what we need to do to prevent this happening again.
“We deliver around 9,000 babies and care for 1.4 million patients across Swindon and Wiltshire each year and know the vast majority receive high quality care.”
Nationally there has been a huge increase in the number of never events reported, with 299 occurring in 2011/2012 compared to 163 in the previous year.