King’s Lynn doctors’ new invention to help save lives

The team who helped to create the safety innovation WireSafe, from left, Ward Sister Emily Hodges, Dr Samuel Keable, Dr Ben Cracknell, Junior Sister Patsy Tipene, Ward Manager Natalie English, Dr Peter Young and Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam (Picture: Victoria Fear)
The team who helped to create the safety innovation WireSafe, from left, Ward Sister Emily Hodges, Dr Samuel Keable, Dr Ben Cracknell, Junior Sister Patsy Tipene, Ward Manager Natalie English, Dr Peter Young and Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam (Picture: Victoria Fear)

Doctors at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital have invented a new device which will help save the lives of patients from operation mishaps.

Consultant Dr Peter Young and Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam, who are based at the QEH, have devised a novel solution to support fellow clinicians and patients in critical situations.

WireSafe is designed to prevent the ‘never events’ of a guide wire being left in a patient after a central line, or central venous catheter, has been inserted.

‘Never events’ are defined as serious incidents that are entirely preventable and which should not occur if the available preventative measures have been put in place.

In August, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine issued a Safety Alert identifying guide wire retention as the top ‘never event’ in emergency medicine.

Dr Young said: “Central lines are often inserted during incredibly stressful situations and the current procedure relies on the clinicians remembering to remove the guide wire by following a check list, which is not always possible if a doctor is distracted, tired or inexperienced.

“We have created a human engineered solution to eliminate that issue and ensure positive results for both the patients and the doctors.

“We have found that doctors are psychologically harmed as a result of incidents like this.

“As doctors we have the privilege of making an impact on individual people’s lives but we also have the ability here to support doctors to do their job safely.”

The device, which is a box containing all of the equipment needed to complete the insertion procedure, can only be open using the guide wire as a key and ensures it is safely removed.

Under simulated tests, it is claimed that WireSafe has been proven to be 100 per cent effective in ensuring that the guide wire is removed.

Dr Young and Dr Mariyaselvam came up with the idea after spotting the potential to improve the current operating procedure which relies on doctors following a check list while inserting the central line in emergency situations.

Dr Mariyaselvam, who is based at the QEH but is completing a doctorate with Cambridge University, said: “We came up with an ‘out of box’ solution to help make life easier for the doctor to complete the medical procedure and to make the incident impossible.

“We looked at the whole process of the procedure and were able to define when the issue was most likely to happen.

“We want to prevent any harm coming to patients and to support clinicians to do their job safely.

“By using the equipment you are supposed to be removing, it’s an ideal safety solution.”

Dr Young added: “The average NHS innovation takes 17 years to go through the relevant processes but WireSafe has taken two years and it is now being used by several hospitals across the country.

“This is the perfect device as it not only protects the patient but also the doctor and the institution.”

Dr Mariyaselvam said: “We have been working hard on the research and evidence and now the device is out there and making a big difference to patients and staff.”