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Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has been ordered to pay almost £200,000 after a warming blanket caused severe burns to a man after surgery.
Michael Wilcock was undergoing a routine operation at Maidstone Hospital during which he was wrapped in an electric warming blanket which is used to keep patients comfortable during procedures.
The blanket’s temperature sensor wasn’t placed on his body as it should have been but instead it was placed on a bag of cold saline solution that was used to keep him in position. This meant the temperature kept rising as the gauge detected no heat being emitted. More heat was produced by the blanket causing severe burns on his bottom and hip.
The blanket in question can reach 40°C in only 20 minutes, and 50°C within 40 minutes if used incorrectly. In this case it’s believed the blanket went to over 40°C for the majority of the time of the 90 minute operation to cause the extensive burns on Mr Wilcock’s body. Due to the cold saline solution the sensor was resting on, the blanket’s alarm didn’t go off to indicate excessive heat.
Mr Wilcock has had to undergo extensive treatment and plastic surgery due to this Medical Negligence and the NHS Trust has been ordered to pay out after a successful compensation claim. The burns have left him with permanent scarring and out of work for four months.
During the investigation into the incident it was found that two earlier cases of minor burns caused by the warming blanket had not been fully investigated and the machine that operated the blanket had not been serviced at the time of Mr Wilcock’s operation. It was also discovered that staff had failed to read the manual that came with the blanket and during testing there were seven cases of the blanket failing to work correctly.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Walls NHS Trust have apologised to Mr Wilcock and his wife following the incident and stated that changes have been made to ensure it never happens again.
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