Concerns about deep brain stimulation surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital

08 December 2022

The BBC reveals that more than 150 deep brain stimulation surgery cases (DBS) at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust (UHB) are now being investigated and surgery is suspended. 

The independent review, carried out by medics from King's College Hospital, was ordered by UHB after a serious incident investigation of a patient who underwent DBS for Parkinson's disease.

It examined 22 cases involving 21 patients between 2017 and 2019 and found in only three the electrodes were placed in a good position. Five were usable and 13 were ineffective.

The report uncovers that there were unacceptable delays responding to patient concerns, and the investigation recommends indefinitely suspending the service at the NHS trust until it is safer.

DBS for movement disorders is used on patients with conditions including Parkinson's disease and dystonia, where medication is becoming less effective.

The surgery involves implanting electrodes into areas of the brain and sending electrical pulses to alter activity.

Electrodes have to be put in the correct place or within 1-2mm, otherwise they can damage a person's speech and balance.

Shoosmiths’ serious injury clinical negligence partner Kashmir Uppal is already investigating claims against UHB on behalf of patients who underwent brain surgery there. She urged any concerned former patients to reach out for help.

Kashmir said: “This news is deeply concerning. Only this week we have launched a claim against UHB on behalf of a patient who was treated there in 2007 and received deep brain stimulation surgery. 

“It is troubling that this procedure continued to be used when there are such large questions over its effectiveness and so many concerns were raised.

“Patients who have been treated at UHB and have received this treatment will be worried, and we urge them to reach out to our specialist team for help and advice.”



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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