The picture editor of a Scottish evening newspaper was just minutes away from undergoing surgery when his operation was suddenly postponed, after three separate sets of surgical tools were found to be contaminated.
What was about to be a 12-hour operation for Alan Paterson instead turned out to be a re-scheduled appointment and a personal apology from NHS Grampian’s boss, Alisdair Chisholm.
Alan was so close to ‘going under the knife’ he was on a trolley in the pre-op room and wired up to heart and blood pressure monitors.
Indeed, he had already said goodbye to his family, not knowing if he would survive the surgery – for a form of brain tumour on his inner ear.
The postponement meant a team of 30 medics having to be stood down.
The story of Alan’s agony, which made the front-page splash in the Evening Express, was followed up with a page lead featuring the NHS apology.
Another operation has been scheduled for next month.
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