Belfast Telegraph

Hospital apologises as 'traumatised' pensioner is forced to hear surgeon saw his leg off on the operating table

By Claire Murphy

A pensioner had to endure the trauma of "hearing the saw that cut the bone in his leg" during an amputation, it has emerged.

University Hospital Limerick has apologised following the traumatic case.

On top of this, Peter Stapleton (77) and his family were "at breaking point" after it emerged that he picked up a superbug at UHL.

Mr Stapleton was treated as an inpatient for severe vascular issues in his right leg at UHL last October.

He presented as an inpatient once again in November, and was discharged the following month, with stents inserted to assist blood flow.

His daughter Lynda, who urged UL Hospitals Group to investigate her father's treatment, wrote on April 18 that after his discharge he "suffered immense pain" at home.

In January 2017, the septuagenarian was rushed to the emergency department of the hospital after he fell and injured himself, all the while "gangrene had set in", she wrote.

Following re-admission on January 31, a below-the-knee amputation on his right leg was carried out in late February.

His daughter said that an above-the-knee amputation was later required on April 12.

However, during this surgery, Mr Stapleton was not given headphones and was forced to listen to his upper leg being cut off with a saw.

His daughter said in an email on April 18: "This was inhumane and has traumatised him."

UHL wrote to his daughter on May 29 that this was performed under a local anaesthetic block, and not a general anaesthetic, to "ensure the patient safety is not compromised".

"The operating theatres do provide headsets for patients for this type of procedure, I do apologise your father was not offered or supplied with headphones as this is normal practice.

"I am sorry he had to endure this unnecessary trauma and I have advised the theatre nurse manager for this to be addressed immediately," UHL wrote.

After it emerged that Mr Stapleton had contracted the CPE superbug at UHL, he was then transferred into the 2D isolation ward.

Ms Stapleton said her father's isolated treatment has had a major "personal impact" on the family.

Mr Stapleton was discharged on Tuesday. Ms Stapleton commended the nursing staff who treated Peter during his six-month treatment.

After UHL looked into Ms Stapleton's complaints, UHL wrote on May 29: "I wish to apologise for your father acquiring this infection and I can assure you we make every effort to avoid outbreaks, but on certain occasion it does occur and for this I am sorry."

UHL also apologised to Mr Stapleton's family for any distress caused.

A spokesperson for UL Hospitals Group said that it knows of the family's concerns and continues to address them through the ongoing complaints process.

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