Elderly woman died during risky operation

Eastbourne District General Hospital DGH Nov 21st 2011 E47056M
Eastbourne District General Hospital DGH Nov 21st 2011 E47056M

AN ELDERLY woman died after suffering severe blood loss during an operation at Eastbourne DGH, an inquest heard.

Joyce Massey had fractured her hip after falling at home and was taken to the hospital where surgery took place in April last year.

The 84-year-old, who had a number of health problems, had a heart attack and had to be resuscitated before the operation was continued.

The risks of surgery had been explained to her, but her family told the inquest they had not been given that information.

The inquest held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court heard that there was a risk of not operating because she would be in pain and deteriorate.

When asked by the coroner, Alan Craze, if Mrs Massey, of Mill Gardens, Sandy Cross, Heathfield, was an ideal candidate for surgery, Dr Mohammed Ali Baig, a speciality doctor in anaesthesia who was present at the operation, said she was not.

In addition Dr Andrew Corner, consultant anaesthetist, explained, “It’s a decision we have to take on a fairly regular basis.

“She was an elderly lady with a number of health problems who had an injury and required a major operation.”

He added the risk of not carrying out the operation was that her general condition probably would have deteriorated over a number of years.

He was called to the theatre at 5pm, having been told the patient was having problems.

After she was resuscitated, they decided to carry on with a shorter operation.

Andrew Armitage, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, said that they had a choice of closing up the area and operating another day or carrying on.

They decided to carry on when she had the second heart attack as the wound was being closed.

Her blood pressure continued to fall after being given adrenalin.

In total she lost four litres of blood.

Mr Armitage told the inquest that because she had oxygen and had been given adrenalin, CPR would not have had an effect.

When asked by Mr Craze if anything was done that shouldn’t have been done during surgery, the consultant orthopaedic surgeon replied no.

Mr Craze recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying it was due to the fall that she had to have surgery.