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Patient dies during op as trolley hits 'power off' button; One of 39 victims of NHS equipment failure.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY ANDREW GREGORY Health Correspondent

A HOSPITAL patient bled to death during an operation after medics accidentally hit an emergency power off button with a trolley.

Horrified staff scrambled to switch the electricity back on but the man - whose main aorta artery had burst in his gut - was dead by the time it was running again.

A senior NHS source said: "While this is an extremely rare event, it remains completely unacceptable. Hospitals have to learn lessons."

Details came to light after a Daily Mirror probe into patients harmed as a result of poor NHS infrastructure.

He was one of 39 patients who died or suffered serious harm in the past two years due to issues with the facilities, Freedom of Information Act figures revealed.

WARNINGS The NHS refused to reveal the identity of the hospital or patient. And an incident report said surgeons believed the power cut "did not change the outcome" - they think he would have died anyway.

But warnings about the bungle have been sent to all hospitals, and to the Care Quality Commission watchdog.

The patient had a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is often fatal.

Doctors stuck a thin tube or catheter, into one of the patient's arteries in the leg and guided it to the aorta where a graft could patch the rupture. However, the surgery proved unsuccessful.

A report of the incident said: "Although none of the involved clinicians felt the accidental pressing of the emergency power off button changed the outcome, the radiology suite has had a cage placed over the button." Emergency off buttons shut down power in the event of a fire or electrocution by equipment. In another serious incident a patient was found not breathing while a hospital's emergency bleep system failed. There was no alert to say it was down and experts did not receive desperate pager messages calling them to him. It was unclear if the patient survived.

Another patient died after communication blunders involving three hospital sites delayed his transfer to an Intensive Therapy Unit. By the time he arrived, he had died.

The Department of Health said: "Where poor care happens we are tackling it."

If you know the power cut death patient please call the Mirror on 0800 282 591 or email


BUNGLE A radiology suite like this was used for the op
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Title Annotation:News; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2013
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