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What's the difference between a liver transplant and a twisted ankle?

11 Jul 2007 - JG

Here's a story that will make you wish you could go private.  Take a deep breath.

500 patients a week are given the wrong treatment by the NHS.  That is almost 25,000 occasions last year, leading to deaths, serious injury and long-term harm, official figures show.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at least 500 patients a week getting the wrong operation the wrong drugs or diagnostic tests, the National Patient Safety Agency said.  There are no figures available to show how many of these incidents actually caused death - why am I not surprised?  The agency also admitted the total could be much higher because many incidents went unreported.  There were 3000 cases alone last year where incidents are estimated to have occurred because of confusion over wristbands used to identify patients. An investigation found that the colour red on a wristband had eight different meanings in different NHS trusts, ranging from "allergic to penicillin" to "does not have English as a first language"!  I can picture it now - a Polish man walks in to a hospital to visit his sick wife, he can't speak a word of english and so gets given a rabies shot in the backside.  What in the name of Moses is going on here?!

Most worrying of all Christine Ranger, head of safer practice at the agency, has said that "-Some incidents will involve significant harm and some have led to deaths-."  

I would also suggest that if you are called Smith or Patel and intend on getting a life threatening illness you seriously consider changing you name.  Those with common names are most at risk of getting treatment mixed up.  Though it is no guarantee -" -In one case a nurse on a ward for the elderly came looking for a patient called Elsie to take a blood sample for a transfusion. There were two Elsies on the ward and the sample was taken from one while the transfusion was intended for the other. That very nearly led to a serious incident-."  I strongly suggest to you and all your loved ones all learn English to a very high standard, change your names to something deeply obscure and whatever you do, do not get ill.

Topics: Health

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