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Hospital checks tightened after op error.

Byline: Laura Elston

A HOSPITAL where a pensioner's only healthy kidney was removed in error made a major change to its checking procedures the day after the blundered operation, a court heard yesterday.

Retired pipe lagger Graham Reeves died at the Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, in March 2000, five weeks after his functioning left kidney was removed instead of his diseased right kidney.

Former North Wales consultant urologist John Gethin Roberts, 60, and surgeon Mahesh Chard Goel, 40, are accused of manslaughter after the operation in January 2000.

Senior recovery nurse Cynthia Williams, who was working on the ward at the time, told Cardiff Crown Court that the next day, because of the error, the hospital made a significant change to the checks it made when a patient was brought into the recovery ward before the operation.

She said: ``The procedure has changed. We have to check the consent form against the operation list to see that they correspond.''

Leighton Davies, QC, prosecuting, said: ``Was the change in a policy perceived as a major change in procedure?'' Mrs Williams confirmed it was.

The court heard that Roberts, who oversaw the operation, and Goel, who performed the operation, did not check patient notes properly to ensure the correct kidney was removed.

The jury has been told that, if Roberts and Goel had done their job properly, the ``conflict'' between the correct information on the consent form and medical notes and incorrect information on an operating list would have been noticed.

Roberts, of Tycoch, Swansea, and Goel, of Burnley General Hospital, Lancashire, both deny manslaughter.

Mrs Williams revealed how the previous policy was to check with the patient if the operation on the consent form was correct, but not to check the consent form against the operation list.

She described how she saw Roberts, who used to work at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, in a distressed state after he visited the intensive therapy unit where Mr Reeves was taken after it was discovered he was not passing urine after the operation.

``He was very, very upset,'' Mrs Williams said. ``He did say something. I can't remember whether it was: `I or we have taken out the wrong kidney'-- words to that effect.''

The trial continues.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2002
Words:373
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