Set Alight under General Anaesthetic

PH underwent a surgical procedure in March 2014 to reposition a stoma from one side of his abdomen to the other.

It had previously been discovered that PH was allergic to the Betadine usually used to clean and prepare the skin around the surgical site and so the alcohol based Chlorhexidine skin preparation was used instead.

During the surgery, and whilst still under anaesthetic, a swab soaked in Chlorhexidine was left on PH’s abdomen and ignited by a surgical cutting tool. The surgical drapes and his skin caught on fire. The fire was extinguished and the drapes removed. The surgery was completed as planned but PH was left with burns and blistering on his abdomen.

PH remained in hospital for 6 days before being discharged and the burn injury took some time before settling down causing a great deal of unnecessary pain and discomfort for PH. PH has been left with permanent scarring to his abdomen as a result of the burns.

In addition to his physical injuries, unsurprisingly, PH also suffered a psychological reaction as a result of what happened to him whilst under anaesthetic. Thoughts about been set on fire whilst under anaesthetic, how things could have ended a great deal worse and concerns about undergoing any surgical procedures in the future were very distressing. PH has undergone psychological therapy to help him come to terms with the incident.

PH instructed Armstrong Foulkes LLP and compensation was recovered to represent his unnecessary pain and suffering from the burn injuries and the psychological reaction.

Incidents like this are wholly avoidable and by raising a complaint to the hospital and pursuing a claim for personal injuries through Armstrong Foulkes LLP the defendant hospital has now put measures in place to make sure this terrifying incident never happens again.

Andrew Walker – October 2015