Independent review of Deep Brain Stimulation surgery at Birmingham Trust

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust (UHB) was forced to undergo an independent review of their deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery cases after there was a serious incident involving a patient who underwent DBS for Parkinson’s disease.

DBS is used on patients with serious brain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, it involves implanting electrodes into the brain and sending electrical pulses to alter their brain activity. If the electrodes are put in the wrong area of the brain the individual’s speech and balance may be damaged. Following the serious incident at UHB medics from Kings College Hospital examined 22 of the Trust’s DBS cases between the years 2017 and 2019. In their report they concluded that only three patients had received effective surgery. The remaining patients had had the electrodes placed on the wrong part of their brain making the surgery either ineffective or leaving them with mild to severe side effects. The report further determined that the problem was most likely due to the technique of the individual surgeon as almost all of the surgeries were carried out by one surgeon, Anwen White. Since the report has been released more than 150 DBS cases at UHB are now being investigated. All DBS surgery has been suspended. The UHB apologised for the findings of the report, commenting that they were “deeply sorry” and that “improvements were being made”.

Freeths solicitors have considerable experience with clinical negligence claims including negligent treatment provided by primary care healthcare professionals. If you are concerned about care which you or a loved one have received, please contact a member of our clinical negligence team for a free, informal discussion.


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