Lauren Hodgson was admitted to a hospital in March for what should have been a routine 45-minute surgery and two day recovery time to remove a kidney stone, but ended up staying in the hospital for two and a half weeks due to a grave mistake.
"The consultant came to see me and said he had gone into theatre while other doctors were doing the operation," Hodgson told Metro. "He said they were finishing off and he’d asked how it had gone. The doctor told him he couldn’t find a stone in the right kidney but he’d just done the procedure anyway."
When he was almost finished operating on the right kidney, someone else alerted the doctor that it was actually the left kidney they were supposed to cut open. "He stepped in and carried out the operation on the correct kidney," Hodgson told Metro. "By the time I came out of theatre hours later I’d had the same thing done to both."
Hodgson says she hasn't yet gotten either an official apology or compensation from the hospital, and that's why she's suing.
She did, however, get an explanation.
"Ms Hodgson underwent a procedure to insert a small tube called a stent in her ureter -which is the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder - as a treatment for kidney stones," the hospital’s medical director, Ian Reckless, told the Citizen. "As the surgery was completed, and while Ms Hodgson was still under anaesthetic, the operating team realised that the stent had been inserted into the wrong ureter. The stent was removed and another stent inserted into the correct ureter."
According to Reckless (which may not be the best name to have when explaining situations like this), what happened to Hodgson is classified in the National Health Services as a "wrong site surgery" and reported as a "Never Event."
The term isn't meant to sweep incidents like these under the rug. While it may seem that "never event" means the mistake didn't happen, it actually is in reference to mistakes that never should happen. It's a way for doctors to track major medical mistakes and learn from them so they can minimize future risk.
Still, for someone like Hodgson, hearing the term "Never Event" in reference to doctors operating on the wrong part of your body and therefore extending your hospital stay and recovery time can be infuriating. Because, yes, this did happen and she is still feeling the pain of their mistake.
“I was horrified when I found out — and in agony from both my kidneys," Hodgson told the Citizen.
She's currently undergoing tests to see if she suffered any long-term kidney damage, and the hospital has launched an investigation into what went wrong.
"This was a very serious incident," Reckless told Metro. "And whilst such incidents are thankfully very rare because of the operating safeguards we have in place, we are committed to learning from this to ensure anything similar is prevented from happening in the future."
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