Cumberland Infirmary patient ‘dropped’ from operating table dies within weeks

A woman has died after being “dropped” on the floor during surgery on her hip, which she had broken while in hospital.

Jeannette Shields, 70, had been receiving treatment for gall stones in Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust said an investigation was under way “in relation to an incident involving a patient in one of our theatres”.

Mrs Shields’ husband, John, said he told the hospital he would not be “pushing this thing under the carpet”.

His wife left her bed to go to the toilet by herself after getting no response to her buzzer, Mr Shields said.

She felt dizzy, fell and broke her hip, he told the BBC.

“The outcome of the investigation will also determine any further action
that we will need to take.”


John Shields


Two days later she had surgery to repair it, after which the hospital called Mr Shields to say the operation had been successful but that “unfortunately they dropped her off the operating [table] after the surgery”, he said.

“Then they had to use the sliding board to pick her up and rush her in and do scans on her,” he said.

“She had a great big bump on the back of her head and she just deteriorated and then she just passed away, just died.

“I’m shocked, I’m really shocked.”

It is not clear what happened or how Mrs Shields ended up falling from the operating table.

Her daughter, Vikki, said the family later alerted nurses to a large bump on her head.

“You’ve never seen a bump like it on the bottom of her head,” she said.


Jeanette Shields

image copyrightFamily photograph

Mrs Shields, from Carlisle, died six weeks later on 21 May.

Her husband said he was initially told there would not be a post-mortem examination.

“I demanded a post-mortem because they wouldn’t do it in Carlisle, they didn’t want to do it, but I’ve got it,” he said.

The trust said it had informed its regulators but was “unable to comment on ongoing investigations”.

“Once it is complete, the findings will be shared with the family and with our regulators in line with normal procedure,” a spokesperson said.

“The outcome of the investigation will also determine any further action that we will need to take.”

Mr Shields said the way the hospital had dealt with the situation was “disgusting”.

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