Six-inch metal forceps left inside patient in ‘never event’

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A hospital is investigating after forceps were left inside a patient after surgery.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised and said the incident at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital, first reported by the BBC, was “exceptionally rare”.

The error happened during a seven-hour abdominal procedure on Nov 23, it is understood.

The six-inch metal forceps had to be located using X-ray while the patient was still under anaesthetic.

But they could not be immediately removed and the patient was moved to intensive care overnight before an operation the next day.

Any investigation into what hospitals term a “never event” would have to establish how the forceps came to be overlooked.

The trust said there were “clear and well-established processes” in place to prevent such incidents happening.

Audit at end of surgery

Usually, all instruments are counted and checked before the patient is closed up, with a further audit at the end of surgery.

Matthew Hopkins, trust chief executive, said: “We are aware of an incident which involved a surgical instrument being left inside a patient following surgery.

“There are clear and well-established processes in place to protect patients from this kind of event, which are exceptionally rare.

“We are currently carrying out an investigation into what happened. The patient and their family have been informed as part of our duty of candour.

“We have apologised unreservedly to the patient and promised to share the findings of our investigation with them once it is completed.”

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