Bowel leak proved fatal

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A 91-YEAR-OLD former civil servant died of a rare leaking bowel after going under the knife, an inquest heard on Thursday (May 12).

Widower Anthony Warland was admitted to Eastbourne DGH after three days of constipation.

Surgeons were forced to remove a bowel obstruction, thought to be caused by a cancer, but Mr Warland of St John’s Road, Polegate, died six days after surgery.

The staples holding his bowels together sprung a leak which caused a deadly infection to spread. He died in hospital on November 23, 2010.

At the inquest, consultant surgeon Raj Harshen and surgical registrar Walimuni Obaysekara, who operated on Mr Warland, said they had only seen five such leaks in their collective 19 years of experience.

It is unclear how the leak started but Mr Harshen said the area of the bowel which had been stapled back together might have struggled to heal and started to leak.

“It may have been a very, very tiny leak, but as more things come through, it can get bigger,” he said.

Mr Warland’s son Ronald Warland, who lives in Eastbourne, said his father had seemed fighting fit before the surgery, driving his car and walking the dog.

“He certainly was not ready to go anywhere,” he said.

Although it seemed as if Mr Warland was going to recover after promising signs in the aftermath of surgery, he deteriorated dramatically the day before he died.

Coroner Alan Craze believed the leak probably got worse as days went by.

He said, “I don’t think this falls happily into the category of death only from natural causes or that there has been a clear sign of detectable surgical accident.”

Mr Craze recorded a narrative verdict at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Mr R Warland said, “Everything was done that could have been done.”