A hospital which left surgical equipment inside a patient has paid an out of court settlement.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool admitted liability after a surgeon left a guide pin in David Bould during a routine operation.

Mr Bould, 54, from Darlington was admitted to the hospital in April 2008 after being referred for a hip resurfacing operation by his GP.

The operation was planned to help reduce pain in his hip caused by wear and tear.

Clinical negligence resulted in second operation

Although the procedure was successful, a follow-up x-ray the next day showed a guide pin had been left in Mr Bould’s hip and he had to undergo a second operation to remove it. 

It meant they had to re-enter the wound from the first procedure, causing him severe pain. Mr Bould was also kept in hospital for longer than first planned.

Mr Bould, who is duty manager at Darlington Borough Council, said he contacted the Patient Advisory and Liaison Service (PALS) once he was discharged from hospital and he decided to pursue compensation because he wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again.

He contacted Thompsons Solicitors which was successful in settling the claim for £4,000.

He said: “I was anxious about having my operation in the first place and it was a relief to discover it had been successful. But to be told that they had made a mistake and would have to operate again was a huge shock.

“I decided to contact Thompsons Solicitors as I was concerned that this sort of thing might happen to someone else. I hope as a result of my actions that the hospital has been able to review its procedures.”

New procedures in place to avoid this type of incident in the future

Leanne McRobb from Thompsons Solicitors added: “It is unfortunate that Mr Bould had to undergo a second operation, under general anaesthetic, on his hip as a result of this error. If a swab and instrument count had been carried out within the operating theatre it would have saved Mr Bould a lot of pain and discomfort.

“Fortunately the hospital has now informed us that it has put new procedures in place to avoid this type of incident in the future.”

This news story was also published by Peterlee Mail and The Northern Echo.