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NHS Highland criticised by ombudsman over quality of care given to patient who died unexpectedly during knee surgery

Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

The family of a 70-year-old Inverness man have spoken of their loss after he died unexpectedly following elective knee surgery.

Bob Chalmers’ relatives complained to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsmen over the care and treatment provided at the orthopaedic department at the city’s Raigmore Hospital.

The watchdog has upheld the complaint, with an inspector noting in his report, in which Mr Chalmers was identified as “Mr A”: “We found that Mr A’s symptoms prior to discharge were not appropriately acted on.

“Had they been, there is a possibility that other specialities could have been called in to assess and assist.”

While the watchdog accepted they could not whether this would have affected Mr Chalmers’ outcome, it concluded the postoperative care and treatment offered “was of an unreasonable standard”.

It was also critical of the lack of a record to demonstrate “all the specific recognised risks of a total knee replacement surgery were covered sufficiently during a clinic consultation”.

Mr Chalmers’ daughter, Dawn Kelsey, said: “Our family feels let down by the orthopaedic department at Raigmore, both by the poor care my father received and also the dismissive way they dealt with our complaint.

“When we reviewed my father’s medical records it became obvious that there were failings in the way he had been looked after and that symptoms had not been assessed and acted on properly.

“Our complaints were dismissed by NHS Highland.

“We are relieved by the Ombudsman’s conclusions but of course this can never bring him back.

My father had many friends and loved his family.

“He will never see his grandchildren grow up, perhaps get married and have children of their own. Things he would have been hugely proud of. He is a huge loss.”

“We just hope that the department learns from its failings.”

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