Dudley man left with life-changing hand injury after hospital error
A Black Country man was left with life-changing injuries to his hand when he was wrongly sent home from hospital after an accident at work.
Lift engineer Jamie Keefe's right hand was crushed, punctured and deeply cut when it slipped into a machine at work in December 2018.
The 26-year-old from Dudley went to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham where he was sent home after having his wound washed out and partially stitched up.
He was sent away with antibiotics and given an appointment to attend the fracture clinic three days later.
However, concerned by his care, Jamie called the NHS 111 service for support and attended Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham six days later.
He was then admitted to hospital when a significant patch of dead tissue was found on a gaping wound across the back of his hand and he underwent surgery the next day.
Mr Keefe was then put on antibiotics and three days alter he had a skin graft taken from his thigh to help repair the wound on his hand.
Despite the treatment and a number of therapy sessions, Mr Keefe has continued to suffer with stiffness and has extensive scarring on the hand.
He says the problems meant he had to change jobs as he is unable to use heavy tools and equipment. He is currently out of work and is looking at opportunities to retrain.
"Suffering the injury was absolutely horrendous but when I was sent home from hospital on the same day I was surprised," Mr Keefe said.
“My hand remained in a really bad way and seemed to be getting worse. It got to the point where I knew I needed to get another opinion.
“When the doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital told me the extent of what needed to be done I couldn’t believe it. I was angry that it took nearly a week to get the treatment that I needed."
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands and Queen Elizabeth hospitals, has since admitted liability and said it "failed to recognise the severity" of the injury when he first arrived in hospital.
The trust acknowledged that Mr Keefe should not have had his wound partially closed and been discharged but instead should have been admitted as an inpatient, received intravenous antibiotics and had any affected tissue removed.
His injury should have been escalated for senior review, the trust also said.
Mr Keefe said: "Nothing will change what I have been through, but I just hope that the NHS can learn lessons so that no one else faces the problems that I have.”
No settlement has been reached yet and discussions are on-going between law firm Irwin Mitchell and the hospital trust.
Jennifer Shipley, specialist medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell, added: "Jamie remains frustrated by the standard of care he received after suffering this awful injury which has gone on to impact on his life.
“Patients place a huge amount of trust in medical experts and always expect that a quality standard of care will be provided. Sadly this did not happen in Jamie’s case. While nothing will change what has happened we welcome the admission of liability.
“We will now continue to support Jamie so he can access the ongoing support he needs to maximise his recovery. It is also important that the trust learns lessons to improve patient care.”
A spokesman for the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said: "The trust always strives to deliver the safest and most appropriate care to all of our patients and takes learning from cases such as this one seriously, and we are sorry that Mr Keefe did not receive the care he should have done on this occasion.”
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