A North Somerset man has received a six-figure sum in compensation after a mistake during an operation on his heart led to him having to have a pacemaker fitted.
Steve Edwards, 51, an NHS manager from Weston-super-Mare, was undergoing treatment for an irregular heartbeat at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 2008. A piece of equipment slipped, causing a radio pulse to be applied to the wrong side of his heart. Mr Edwards, who was under heavy local anaesthetic during the operation, was shaken awake and told that he would need to have a pacemaker fitted, but said that it was only during an outpatient’s appointment 10 weeks after the operation that he realised something had gone wrong.
The incident has affected Mr Edwards’s self-esteem and left him traumatised, and he has also suffered from nightmares. He will have to undergo further surgery every seven years to replace the batteries in his pacemaker, a procedure which will carry more risks as he gets older. The pacemaker itself may also have to be replaced in the future.
Hospital staff initially denied that a mistake had been made. However, Bristol Royal Infirmary has since apologised to Mr Edwards and said that changes to policies and procedures have been made to prevent a recurrence of this sort of error. Mr Edwards has also received a six-figure sum in damages in an out-of-court settlement.