THE family of a patient who died shortly after surgery has won its battle against a health board. 

NHS Lanarkshire bosses have been told to apologise and overhaul guidance on surgical options following the incident in East Kilbride’s Hairmyres Hospital. 

However, watchdog the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) found there was no link between the patient’s death and decisions taken by medics. 

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Dr John Keaney, NHS Lanarkshire acute divisional medical director, said: “We regret any instance where we fail to provide the highest standards of care for our patients and we will contact the complainants directly to offer our sincere apologies for the failings identified in the reports.

“We have fully accepted the recommendations within the Ombudsman’s reports and will develop an action plan to address them. The lessons learned will be shared to help avoid similar occurrences in future.”

The patient, known only as A, initially had a procedure on a fractured hip and wrist only for discomfort to emerge with a screw close to a joint in the former. 

Following a consultation with medics, an agreement was reached not to operate again and instead to review it in six weeks’ time. 

However, the patient’s pain increased and their mobility decreased and corrective surgery was performed. 

A’s clinical condition thereafter deteriorated and they died a number of weeks later. 

A family member, C, complained and medics identified some evidence of poor care. 

The relative remained unhappy and took it to the SPSO which found errors in relation to the prescription of vitamin D and the health board’s readiness to address these. The watchdog also found the full effects of corrective surgery had not been discussed with A and C’s initial complaint had been handled inadequately. 

A ruling from the body read: “We found that A was appropriately reviewed by medical staff and that there was no evidence of a delay in A’s pain being identified following their first operation.

“However, we identified that medication errors in relation to the prescription of vitamin D had occurred which were significant. 

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“Whilst we did not find evidence that the errors caused harm to A, the errors had not been appropriately documented in the medical records when they were identified; nor were they reported on the second occasion as they should have been. A and their family were also not informed about the medication errors at the time.

“We also found that, when A consented to further surgery (which was major and complex), there was no evidence to show that the option of a girdlestone procedure (removal of the metal work only which would have left A with a significant functional disability) had been discussed with A or their family. 

“We considered that this was unreasonable.”