Patient's knee op called off at last minute because screws didn't fit
A patient's knee operation was called off moments before he went under the knife because doctors had the wrong-sized surgical screws.
Anthony Chalmers was due to have a metal plate and screws inserted into his knee at Leicester General Hospital on Tuesday.
Despite having a pre-op assessment two weeks ago, surgeons discovered they had the wrong screws when he was on the trolley and was about to be given a general anaesthetic.
Mr Chalmers, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, said: "I was two seconds from being knocked out and they just realised. They just should have known.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"The surgeon said he assumed he had the right screws – assuming is not good enough and they should have checked long before.
"I was in tears when they told me. I have been getting worked up about this operation for weeks. My doctor had to give me drugs to help me sleep because I have been so nervous, I hate needles. Now I have no trust in the NHS."
The former postman has suffered from knee problems for more than 20 years, caused by his old job and years of playing football.
He has had three minor operations to reconstruct the ligaments in his knee over the years but, after they proved unsuccessful, his doctor decided he should have the knee operation to stabilise his knee with metal screws and a plate.
Mr Chalmers arrived at the hospital at 7.15am and had not eaten since the night before, when he was told he would have the operation at 1pm.
"I went down to the theatre and I was a bag of nerves," he said. "They put the wires on my heart and on my finger and they were preparing my anaesthetic.
"The anaesthetist was telling me they would put the mask on my face in a second and first it would be oxygen and then gas. I thought, 'right I'm going under now' and then my surgeon told the anaesthetist he didn't have the right size of screws.
"I just didn't understand.
"The surgeon said he assumed they had the right ones. I was in an absolute state. I said to him 'just take my leg off'."
He has been told the operation might be rescheduled for next Friday – but only if new screws arrive in time.
Andrew Brown, clinical lead for orthopaedics, at Leicester's Hospitals, said: "I am very sorry for the distress and inconvenience this has caused Mr Chalmers.
"During the final instrument check the team found the necessary screws were not all available which meant they could not go ahead with the operation. Clearly this late change was far from ideal and upsetting for Mr Chalmers, but it is much safer to reschedule the operation than to proceed without the required equipment.
"Mr Chalmers operation has been rescheduled for next week and the additional equipment has been ordered."