Compensation after wrong side of heart operated on

Steve Edwards
Image caption Steve Edwards said he learned the procedure had gone wrong 10 weeks after the operation

A man who had the wrong side of his heart operated on has received a six-figure sum in compensation.

Steve Edwards, 51, from Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, had the procedure at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) in 2008 for an irregular heartbeat.

But during the operation a piece of equipment slipped causing a radio pulse to be applied to the wrong side. A pacemaker then had to be fitted.

BRI has apologised and said changes had been made to "policies and procedures".

Mr Edwards, a practice manager at St George's and Worle GP surgeries, was awarded the undisclosed sum after the third attempt at corrective surgery went wrong.

"I could hear some commotion, I was under heavy local anaesthetic and I was shaken awake by the consultant to tell me there was a problem and they needed to put a pacemaker in," he said.

'Technical errors'

"I wasn't really clear what was going on, it was only some weeks afterwards that I realised."

Mr Edwards said he had learned the procedure had gone wrong 10 weeks after the operation during an outpatient's appointment.

"I was really concerned that the mistake hadn't been admitted to me from the start," he said.

Mr Edwards added that as a result of having a pacemaker fitted he would have to undergo surgery every seven years to replace the battery "which as I get older carries more and more risks".

In a statement, the BRI said: "Technical errors during Mr Edwards' cardiac ablation procedure resulted in the catheter moving and radio frequency energy being delivered to the wrong side of his heart.

"Further checks have been introduced to ensure that the catheter is perfectly placed before radio frequency energy is delivered."

Correction 21 October 2011: This story has been amended since it was first published to clarify the nature of the medical procedure.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites