“Junior doctors should have acted quicker” - an inquest heard

THE SURGEON who operated on a 64-year-old who died at Eastbourne DGH said he was ‘furious’ the junior doctors did not act more quickly.

Patricia Philipson, of Ashley Gardens, Hailsham, died at Eastbourne DGH on December 21 and an inquest into her death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon (October 13).

Coroner Alan Craze was told Mrs Philipson had suffered from Crohn’s disease since 1993 and needed an operation to remove part of her intestine.

Andrew Aldridge, consultant surgeon, said the operation was not easy but technically it went well. Mrs Philipson, who was frail and underweight because of her Crohn’s disease, started to recover well but on December 19 she began to deteriorate.

It became clear she was suffering from peritonitis, a leaking intestine, and she was taken for an emergency operation on December 21 but died on the operating table before the procedure started.

At the inquest her family raised concerns that action was not taken when Mrs Philipson first became ill on December 19.

Mr Aldridge agreed with their concerns and said, “I am furious there was no immediate escalation to someone more senior. Why wasn’t action taken when she first became ill?”

Mrs Philipson’s son Ian Philipson told the coroner he had phoned the hospital on the morning of his mother’s death and been told that no immediate action was needed.

“I felt that was very bad advice,” said Mr Philipson and Mr Aldridge said he agreed.

Mr Craze thanked Mr Aldridge for being so honest and said he hoped lessons had been learned.

He then explained the lack of prompt action from medics at Eastbourne DGH was not the cause of Mrs Philipson’s and added, “No-one knows if it would have made a difference to the outcome.”

A verdict of death by natural causes was recorded.