Understanding failings in patient safety: lessons from the case of surgeon Ian Paterson
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractWhile rare, incidents of inappropriate and/or unnecessary surgery do occur, so effective surveillance of surgical practice is required to ensure patient safety. This article explores the case of Ian Paterson, a consultant surgeon who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2017 for wounding with intent and unlawful wounding, primarily by undertaking inappropriate or unnecessary mastectomies. The article details the main points of the Paterson case, with reference to the subsequent government-commissioned inquiry and its recommendations. It also outlines various strategies for enhancing patient safety, including applying human factors theory, improving auditing, and rationalising NHS and private healthcare. The author concludes that nurses have a crucial role in the surveillance of surgical practice and that combined reporting of surgeons' practice across NHS and private healthcare organisations is required.
CitationMilligan F (2021) 'Understanding failings in patient safety: lessons from the case of surgeon Ian Paterson', Nursing Standard, (), pp.-.
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