Expert appalled at shocking standard of trauma care

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Expert appalled at shocking standard of trauma care

1st December 2011

A medical negligence expert has said she is shocked by the BBC revelations of an ‘appalling deterioration’ in the quality of patient care at an east London hospital.

Jacqui Hayat, head of the London Medical Negligence department at Fentons Solicitors LLP, was speaking after the BBC revealed that almost half of the 12 orthopaedic surgeons based at Barts and the London Hospital, in Whitechapel had handed their notice in over the last few months amid claims that a lack of resources had left patients with ‘life-changing injuries.’

“I am appalled that patients at such a major London hospital are actually being harmed by the care they receive,” said Jacqui, a partner with the firm. “The fact that so many orthopaedic surgeons are resigning really is a shocking testament to thescale of the crisis the hospital is currently facing.”

A surgeon at Barts and the London Hospital said a dangerous shortage of plastic surgeons, anaesthetists and surgical facilities including beds and equipment, often meant patients with non-life threatening injuries were routinely having their operations cancelled.

“Some patients are sitting around with open wounds for five or even six days waiting for an operation that might get cancelled at the last minute,” said Jacqui. “Their bones aren’t healing properly as a result and their wounds are becoming infected. Infection rates on complicated leg operations are running between 70-80% instead of the expected 30-40%. This is clearly unacceptable.”

Whistleblowers revealed that staff had been raising concerns over trauma provision for the last four years yet the hospital was still experiencing a dangerous lack of supplies, surgical equipment and nurses as well as a constant lack of beds.

"It is little wonder that so many surgeons have been resigning over the last few months when such a poor standard of trauma care is regarded as the norm and no longer seen as a crisis,” said Jacqui.

“Patients are all too frequently being left with bone infections resulting in long-term pain and impaired walking,” added Jacqui. “When patients are entering hospital and being left with complications and outcomes that are going to be affecting the rest of their lives, there are clearly problems that need to beurgently addressed.”

In light of the revelations, Barts and the London Trust has invited a Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) team to carry out an independent investigation.

How can Fentons help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to Medical Negligence

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

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