Trust vows 'never again' after patient Paul Hill catches fire

Burn on Paul Hill's stomach
Image caption Paul Hill was left with a large burn mark on his stomach

A hospital where a patient's stomach caught fire during an operation has promised it will never happen again.

An alcohol-based skin steriliser was ignited by an electrical instrument which generates heat while Paul Hill was under general anaesthetic at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Hospital bosses carried out an internal investigation and said it "could never happen again".

Mr Hill, 43, is now taking taking legal action for damages against the trust.

"I am pleased to have answers and fingers crossed it puts no one else in this situation," the father-of-four from Thornaby said.

'Humanly possible'

"I'm doing quiet well - I'm back at work and leading as normal a life as I can.

"I still have nightmares but I guess that will ease in time."

Mr Hill had only just come around from the general anaesthetic for the hernia operation in March when he found out what had happened.

When he told his wife Tracy she did not believe him - thinking he had been affected by morphine.

A statement from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust said: "We have been open in sharing the outcome of our investigation with Mr Hill and explaining the arrangements, checks and balances we have put into place to prevent, as far as humanly possible, such an incident from happening again.

"Some of these checks and balances include raising awareness through training and ensuring the appropriate use of either alcohol-based or water-based antiseptic skin preparations."

Mr Hill has long-term health problems and said he was "petrified" in case he ever had to have another operation.

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