Maidstone Hospital fined £180,000 over mattress burns

Image caption Mike Wilcock underwent surgery for the removal of a cyst on his kidney

Maidstone Hospital has been fined £180,000 after a patient suffered severe burns during an operation.

Mike Wilcock, 58, from Tunbridge Wells, needed a skin graft on third-degree burns to his buttock and hip after undergoing kidney surgery.

His injuries were caused by a heated mattress used to keep patients warm during an operation.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was fined following a hearing at Maidstone Crown Court.

In September 2012, Mr Wilcock underwent surgery for a removal of a cyst on his kidney.

During the operation, the mattress's temperature sensor was in contact with a cold saline bag rather than his body. This caused it to overheat.

No alarm was raised during the operation and his injuries were only discovered when Mr Wilcock woke up to discover a large burn on his right hip and buttock.

He said: "As a result of this injury I was unable to work for nearly five months and I have been scarred for life."

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Image caption Mike Wilcock suffered third-degree burns to his buttock and hips

He added: "Both the chief executive and the medical director have given me a public apology in court for which I am of course very grateful, given the pain and trauma I have had to go through.

"Hospital theatre staff are dedicated people who we trust with our lives. My case highlights the critical nature of suitable and adequate training for those staff."

The court heard staff at the hospital had not been trained to use the heated mattress properly.

Dr Paul Sigston from the trust apologised to Mr Wilcock and his wife for the injury caused to him.

He said: "We've had a fine due to the health and safety breaches, which we have accepted.

"The fine is a large amount of money, but it will be paid."

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