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Woman Who Had Knee Replacement Surgery Left In Agony After Surgeons Put Implant In The Wrong Leg

SWNS

A grandma who had a double knee replacement operation was left in agony after bungling surgeons put an implant in the wrong leg.


Barbara Barnes, 74, went under the knife to have a right knee implant but surgeons accidentally put it in her left joint.

Mrs. Barnes, who has four grown-up children and seven grandchildren, endured months of pain after the blunder in October 2018.

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She has had further surgery to fix the implant in the right knee but she faces more corrective operations in the future.

East Cheshire NHS Trust has acknowledged the mistakes made when Mrs. Barnes was treated at Macclesfield Hospital.

Mrs. Barnes has now instructed solicitors Irwin Mitchell to investigate her treatment.

She said:

"I had been struggling with my knees for years, so getting the green light on the replacements was exciting."
"However, after the first procedure something just didn't seem right. I was extremely worried that something had gone wrong, but kept being told that everything was fine."
"Being told that a right-sided implant had been used on my left knee was a huge shock. It's the kind of basic error that you would not expect when undergoing major surgery. I still can't believe it happened."
"The issues raised by the investigation were very concerning, but it is at least welcome that measures can be taken to prevent this from happening to anyone else."
"You put a huge amount of trust in doctors and something like this impacts on that massively. I just hope that the NHS prevents this issue from happening again."

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After suffering with knee problems for many years, Mrs. Barnes, who is married to John, 73, opted to have a double knee replacement.

She was scheduled into have her left knee operated on first in October 2018, but after the surgery she was still in pain.

In January last year the National Joint Registry, the body which monitors performance of replacement implants, contacted East Cheshire NHS Trust concerned about irregularities in four cases.

Following a review, the errors in Mrs. Barnes' case were identified.

A report by the Trust found that the type of implant Barbara had were stored together, with left-sided items on the right side of the box, and right-sided items on the left.

The Trust also said how it was standard practice for three checks to be carried out on a knee implant.

This would firstly by done by a member of the operating team who collects it from the storage room, then by a scrub nurse, and thirdly by the surgeon.

Staff would present the devices and state what it was independently.

The Trust deemed that the checking process was not robust enough.

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Storage arrangements have since been changed at the Trust, including storing different sided implants in different color-coded boxes.

The checking procedure in theatre has also been amended to ensure the doctors and scrub nurses read the information on the item.

Mrs. Barnes is now waiting to hear what financial settlement she may be entitled to from the Trust.

Rebecca Hall, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

"This is a hugely concerning case in which clear issues, which you would struggle to make up, have been identified."
"Some of the simple and preventable mistakes have gone on to have a profound effect on Barbara."
"Patients who undergo joint replacement surgery place huge faith in medical staff and cases like this only serve to undermine that."
"While nothing can make up for what Barbara has been through, we are pleased that the Trust has admitted it failings and identified new procedures."
"It is vital that these new procedures are communicated to all staff and that policies are upheld at all time to improve patient care."

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A spokesperson for East Cheshire NHS Trust said:

"We would like to express our sincere apologies to the patient involved in this case."
"The Trust fully accepts that the care provided in this instance fell well below the standard patients expect from us."
"We can confirm that a thorough investigation into the incident took place and robust measures have been put in place to prevent recurrence."