FOI request reveals NHS blunders

Details of dozens of NHS blunders have been disclosed — including an incident where a patient had brain surgery on the wrong side of his head.

The previously confidential documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal a string of near fatalities, such as a patient who had to be resuscitated after going into cardiac arrest when a nurse administered drugs incorrectly.

In another incident, an ambulance crew could not open the safe in the rear of their vehicle to give a patient a drug. Meanwhile, a baby needing to be sedated was given 10 times the correct dose of morphine; and a child had the wrong teeth extracted.

In total, seven of the 10 strategic health authorities reported 103 drug incidents, 21 medical equipment failures and 20 surgical errors.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Every month the NHS delivers over 22 million treatments. The vast majority of patients receive safe and effective care, and only a small number of errors will have serious consequences."

NHS blunders revealed by release of records (Daily Telegraph, 24 September 2007)