June 20, 2016

Inadequate post-operative care

Mr M died, aged 75 years, following post surgical complications resulting in multi organ failure.

Mr M suffered from high blood pressure, however this did not respond to conventional treatment. He was subsequently diagnosed with a phaeochromocytoma (a rare tumour of the adrenal gland) and required surgery. Such surgery must be undertaken in a specialist unit with a surgeon experienced in this type of surgery. Post operatively, patients can bleed and therefore pre operative and post operative after care must be provided by specialist teams. With this care, mortality is low. Such care was not provided to Mr M and despite a request, he was not transferred to a specialist unit.

Post operatively, Mr M’s blood pressure and haemoglobin dropped and he was given blood transfusions. Shortly after this, his condition deteriorated and he collapsed. Further surgery revealed over 2 litres of blood in Mr M’s abdomen and this was evacuated. In addition to the avoidable extensive blood loss, Mr M developed sepsis and a deterioration in his kidney functioning requiring dialysis.

Mr M was taken to the High Dependency Unit, however his condition continued to deteriorate. He developed atrial fibrillation, pneumonia and renal failure. Mr M then developed multi organ failure and died.

Prior to his death, Mr M was fit and well and had been working 20 hours per week. He lived with his wife and had been looking forward to returning to work and ultimately, their retirement together.

Mrs M received the sum of £125,000 as well as a letter of apology from the Hospital.

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