Compensation for client injured by hospital acquired infection
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‘John’ (not his real name) underwent a routine cystoscopy (a procedure where a thin camera, called a cystoscope, is inserted through the urethra to look inside the bladder) at Corbett Hospital in Stourbridge during February 2020. In the days after the procedure he suffered an infection of Pseudomonas bacteria. Unfortunately the infection did not respond to treatment, and he ultimately needed a right scrotal orchidectomy (the removal of his right testicle).
In October 2017 John had undergone surgery to remove a bladder tumour. The surgery successfully removed the tumour and, to ensure the cancer did not return, follow up cystoscopies were arranged.
One of the routine cystoscopies was performed on 25 February 2020 at Corbett Hospital’s cystoscopy suite.
No cancer was found during the procedure and John was discharged home with another appointment in a years’ time. In the following days he however started to suffer with pain and swelling around his testes.
He went to A&E on 5 March 2020. An ultrasound scan, and results from a blood test, indicated that he had an infection. He was started on antibiotics and kept in hospital for observation. A urine sample later confirmed that he had a Pseudomonas infection (an infection caused by a kind of bacteria called ‘Pseudomonas’ which is commonly found in soil, water, and plants).
John was treated with intravenous antibiotics and was discharged home 12 days later with a further course of medication.
Unfortunately, later in the month the swelling and tenderness increased again. He was prescribed pain relief and another course of antibiotics, and a repeat ultrasound scan was also arranged.
His condition still did not improve and on 16 April 2020 it was found that the tissue in his right testicle had died. Surgery was required to remove his testicle later that day.
John contacted Enable Law in later that year. By then the Hospital had started an investigation into what had happened.
The Hospital finalised their investigation report in early 2021. The report found that:
- A total of 46 patients (including John) suffered Pseudomonas infections after undergoing cystoscopies at the Hospital.
- The patients suffered infections that included urinary tract infections, testicular infections and discitis (inflammation between the vertebrae of the spine).
- After an inspection it was found that the environment where the cystoscopies were being undertaken was not adequately maintained or cleaned.
- There was also no consistent way in which the equipment was used, prepared and decontaminated and it was unclear who was in charge of the overall maintenance of the cystoscopy equipment.
- The strain of the Pseudomonas bacteria was found in the water that came from the sink being used to flush through the cystoscopes. And
- Some of the equipment (in particular a ‘Y’ shaped connector) had also been reused, which meant that the bacteria stayed in the connector.
The report recommended 14 changes to improve patient safety in the way cystoscopies are carried out.
Given the outcome of the investigation the Hospital admitted that the care John received was negligent. They had failed to decontaminate the equipment and that this caused the Pseudomonas infection, and the eventual loss of John’s right testicle.
A settlement of £26,500 was agreed for John.
John was 68 years old, and he did not have any plans to have more children. The compensation was instead to reflect the pain and suffering that was caused and the impact on his sexual function; and would also cover any future medical treatment costs if he decided to have a prosthetic testicle fitted.