South Scotland

Dumfries Infirmary finger amputation apology ordered

Dumfries Infirmary Image copyright NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Image caption A different operation to the one agreed was carried out at Dumfries Infirmary

A health board has been ordered to apologise after failing to carry out the operation a woman with a crushed finger had consented to.

The dairy worker agreed to undergo a partial amputation at Dumfries Infirmary in order to return to work as quickly as possible.

A different operation, with a longer recovery time, was carried out instead.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has told NHS Dumfries and Galloway to apologise for the failings it found.

A report concluded the health board's records of the consent process were "inadequate" and that the operation performed had not been the one the patient - named only as Miss C - had consented to.

Instead of a partial amputation, a "terminalisation" had been carried out which involved the surgical shortening of the finger and closure of the wound with stitching.

"The board were unable to explain this, instead maintaining that Miss C had undergone the appropriate surgery," the ombudsman said.

'Reflect on failings'

The SPSO also found that the board's investigations of her complaint had been inadequate.

It had failed to identify the lack of records supporting her consent as a concern and failed to obtain a statement from the doctor involved.

In addition, the board's complaint response was found to have misrepresented records of Miss C's interactions with staff and failed to address her concerns about the financial impact of the surgery.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway was ordered to review its processes for obtaining consent and provide training to improve one doctor's communication skills.

It was also told to ensure another doctor reviewed his understanding of the consent process and the definition of a finger terminalisation procedure.

The SPSO sought evidence that both doctors had "reflected on the failings identified" as part of their appraisal process.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway was told to review its handling of the complaint and apologise for its failings.

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