Inadequate NHS equipment causing deaths
- AuthorJudith Thomas-Whittingham
It has been reported that some deaths in intensive care units are attributable as unnecessary deaths across the UK and is being caused by the lack of a cheap and simple breathing monitor on NHS intensive care wards.
The Royal College of Anaesthetists has reported that using a capnograph may avoid over 70% of breathing-related deaths on UK intensive care wards.
Having a capnograph would enable staff to be alerted and detect problems immediately enabling appropriate treatment to be given.
The device is used in most operating theatres and works by detecting carbon dioxide in exhaled breath to confirm that the patient is breathing sufficiently.
This would benefit the intensive care units massively as only a quarter of intensive care units in the UK use the device, according to the latest report this month.
Dr Tim Cook, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, said: "The single most important change that would save lives is the use of a simple breathing monitor, which would have identified or prevented most of the events that were reported.
It appears that introducing these into the ICU departments would require only "modest cost" and some training of nurses and those doctors who are not familiar with its use. This could also therefore save lives.
BBC News reports that of 184 reports of complications, 38 resulted in a death. Sixteen of these deaths occurred while under general anaesthetic in the operating theatre, 18 occurred on intensive care units and four in emergency departments.
If you believe that you have received treatment which was below a reasonable standard and would like to make a claim, we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to help you. You can call us for initial advice now on 0844 245 6602.
By clinical negligence expert, Stacy Albrighton