Wednesday 21 August 2019

Patient heard a loud surgical drill during his spine operation

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A patient endured the nightmare of hearing a loud surgical drill as he was on the theatre table during an operation on his spine.

The disturbing incident, which happened in University Hospital Limerick, is revealed in the annual report of Ombudsman Peter Tyndall.

The male patient was having the operation under local anaesthetic and was awake during the procedure.

He should have been offered earphones playing music to drown out the noise but this did not happen.

In response, the hospital apologised and said it had since introduced procedures to ensure that offers of disposable earphones were made to every patient and that this was documented.

The Ombudsman received 3,300 complaints last year - a rise of 11pc over 2017.

The largest number of grievances related to Government departments followed by local authorities, health and social services.

Another case revealed how a single word left out of a doctor's letter led to a man wrongly believing he had suffered a stroke.

He initially believed he had suffered from a stroke and had a brain scan at Tallaght Hospital. He was told there was no evidence of a stroke and he asked for a second opinion from Beaumont Hospital.

He was told by Beaumont Hospital the scans showed some evidence but that it could not confirm whether he had suffered a stroke.

The Ombudsman discovered there was a typing error in the letter to the man and it should have read that the scans did "not" suggest that there had been a stroke. The hospital apologised to the man and explained how the mistake occurred.

Meanwhile, the annual report of Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon warns today that as the "Government has more money, our most vulnerable children are not benefiting". His office received 1,622 complaints last year on behalf of children.

Access to education for those with additional needs and bullying are still problems for children, and there continues to be problems with education for children who are homeless or children who are in residential mental health facilities.

"There has been an increase this year in health complaints relating to waiting lists, and complaints on services for children with mental health issues or disabilities," he said.

Irish Independent

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