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Health board rapped over finger operation foul-up

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Health board rapped over finger operation foul-up

A FAILURE to carry out agreed surgery on the crushed finger of a dairy worker has seen NHS Dumfries and Galloway ordered to apologise.

The dairy worker agreed to undergo a partial amputation of her left ring finger at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary to speed up her return to work – but a different surgery with a longer recovery time was carried out.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman said: “This procedure would have allowed her to return to work in the shortest possible time period.”
Instead, a ‘terminalisation’ was carried out which which saw the finger surgically shortened and the wound closed with stitching.
It said: “The procedure that was undertaken was not that listed on the form. Additionally no record had been made of any discussions with her, despite the form containing clearly marked sections for this.
“The advice said no treatment plan was recorded, nor was the rationale for performing surgery other than a partial amputation recorded.”
And it added that failure to perform a a partial amputation of the finger ‘significantly prolonged the healing process and it was clear from her submissions that her primary motivation was to return to work as soon as possible’.
The ombudsman said the board were unable to explain this, instead maintaining the woman had ‘undergone the appropriate surgery’.
The SPSO says the NHS board’s investigations of the woman’s subsequent complaint were inadequate, including a failure to obtain a statement from the doctor involved.
And it said the complaint response ‘misrepresented’ the records of her interactions with medical staff and failed to address her concerns about the financial impact she faced as a result of the surgery.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway has been told to apologise, while other recommendations include reviewing its handling of complaint procedures, review processes for obtaining consent, and provide training to improve one doctor’s communication skills.
A spokesman for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “NHS Dumfries and Galloway have accepted the recommendations set out within the ombudsman’s report and have implemented changes accordingly. “

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