Surgeons put wrong implant into grandmother's leg during knee replacement surgery

Barbara Barnes, 74, had the wrong implant fitted in October 2018, and the NHS Trust which oversees the hospital has since admitted its failure to insert the correct sided implant. (SWNS)

A grandmother who was having double knee replacement surgery was left in agony after surgeons put the wrong implant into her left leg.

Barbara Barnes, 74, went under the knife to have an implant put into her left knee, but surgeons accidentally used the right-sided implant, intended for her right knee.

Barnes endured months of pain after the blunder in October 2018 and has had further surgery to fix the implant but she faces more corrective operations in the future.

East Cheshire NHS Trust has acknowledged the mistakes made when Mrs Barnes was treated at Macclesfield Hospital.

Barnes, who had been struggling with her knees for years, said she was “excited” when she was given the green light to have the double knee replacement surgery but after the first procedure, she felt something “just didn’t seem right”.

Barbara Barnes with husband John (left) and son, Nick (right). Barnes, 74, had the wrong implant fitted in October 2018. (SWNS)

She said: “I was extremely worried that something had gone wrong, but kept being told that everything was fine.

“Being told that a right-sided implant had been used on my left knee was a huge shock and the kind of basic error that you would not expect when undergoing major surgery.

“You put a huge amount of trust in doctors and something like this impacts on that massively.”

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Barnes, who has four grown-up children and seven grandchildren, was scheduled to have her left knee operated on first in October 2018, but after the surgery she was still in pain.

In January last year the National Joint Registry, the body which monitors performance of replacement implants, contacted East Cheshire NHS Trust concerned about irregularities in four cases.

After suffering with knee problems for many years it was decided Barbara, who is married to John Barnes, 73, would undergo a double knee replacement starting with her left knee. (SWNS)

Following a review, the errors in Mrs Barnes’ case were identified.

A report by the Trust found that the type of implant Barbara had were stored together, with left-sided items on the right side of the box, and right-sided items on the left.

The Trust also said how it was standard practice for three checks to be carried out on a knee implant.

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This would firstly by done by a member of the theatre team who collects it from the storage room, then by scrub nurse and thirdly by the surgeon.

Staff would present the devices and state what it was independently.

The Trust deemed that the checking process was not robust enough.

Storage arrangements have since been changed at the Trust, including storing different sided implants in different colour coded boxes.

The checking procedure in theatre has also been amended to ensure the doctors and scrub nurses read the information on the item.

The mum-of-four and grandmother-of-seven will require corrective surgery as a result of her treatment at Macclesfield Hospital. (SWNS)

Mrs Barnes is now waiting to hear what financial settlement she may be entitled to from the Trust.

A spokesperson for East Cheshire NHS Trust said: “We would like to express our sincere apologies to the patient involved in this case. The trust fully accepts that the care provided in this instance fell well below the standard patients expect from us.

“We can confirm that a thorough investigation into the incident took place and robust measures have been put in place to prevent recurrence.”

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Barnes underwent the surgery in October 2018, but afterwards complained for several months about still being in pain, despite physiotherapy sessions. (SWNS)

Rebecca Hall, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is a hugely concerning case in which clear issues, which you would struggle to make up, have been identified.

“Some of the simple and preventable mistakes have gone on to have a profound effect on Barbara.

“Patients who undergo joint replacement surgery place huge faith in medical staff and cases like this only serve to undermine that.

“While nothing can make up for what Barbara has been through we are pleased that the Trust has admitted it failings and identified new procedures.”

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