An Abandoned Surgery in Wales Indicate a Doctor Shortage in the NHS?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The NHS made a catalogue of serious errors on a surgery patient.  They apologized.  And paid the patient about $5,000.  All in a day’s work at the NHS (see Hywel Dda Health board pay-out over ‘catalogue of errors’ posted 10/4/2012 on BBC News Wales).

A health board has apologised and is paying £3,250 after a “catalogue of serious errors” involving a woman with a gynaecological condition.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales found Emma Turner’s care while being treated for endometriosis at Glangwili hospital, Carmarthen was mismanaged.

It found she suffered physical trauma, risk and worry when surgery was abandoned after it had started.

Accidents happen.  No one is perfect.  Which is why there is malpractice insurance for doctors.  And liability insurance for hospitals.  Well, in the U.S., at least.  So what exactly led to this catalogue of serious errors?  As it turns out, something that probably wouldn’t have happened in the U.S.  Well, before Obamacare, that is.

Miss Turner, 26, had surgery to remove a cyst from her left ovary in June last year but a severe form of endometriosis – a condition that can lead to infertility – was found.

Further surgery was scheduled for September which would be a joint procedure by a consultant gynaecologist and a bowel surgeon.

But after it had begun it had to be stopped because the surgeon was not available and an on-call replacement felt the procedure was so complicated it should be carried out in a specialist department.

They started the surgery even though one of the two surgeons was a no-show.  Trusting that the on-call replacement could perform any surgery he or she was called on to do.  The on-call surgeon then said the complexity of the surgery was beyond his or her skill level.  Despite being on-call for just such an emergency.  Which is why they had to abandon the surgery after they had already started.  Because the hospital wasn’t staffed appropriately.  And why was that?  The aging population in the UK has forced the NHS to ration health care.  In part because they can’t find enough doctors to staff their hospitals.  Something to look forward to as Obamacare mutates into a full-blown national health care system.

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