Hospital blunder led to gran bleeding to death
Pensioner died hours after blood supplies failed to arrive
A GRANDMOTHER bled to death after a hospital blunder meant there was no blood for an emergency transfusion.
Irmgard Cooper, who was 85, died hours after having a planned operation at Northwick Park Hospital when blood supplies failed to arrive due to a hospital blunder.
Mrs Cooper had come through a serious but successful operation to repair a large bulge in the main artery to her heart.
However, when doctors started to release clamps and re-circulate blood around her body, her blood volume dropped dramatically, requiring replacement.
Although cross-matched blood had been pre-prepared for her operation, an inquest heard it was not on standby at the time and had actually been sent back to the blood bank, as Mrs Cooper’s name had been spelt incorrectly on the supplies.
The surgeon re-clamped the artery but it was too late and Mrs Cooper began to suffer massive internal bleeding and began haemorrhaging.
It took around two hours for the replacement cross match blood to arrive – a time Mrs Cooper would have been able to survive had the anaesthetist, who was aware there was insufficient blood on standby, told the surgeon and delayed the process of releasing blood around the body, the inquest heard.
Mrs Cooper’s daughter, Lorraine Booker, took legal advice from clinical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors and London North West Healthcare NHS Trust has since admitted full liability for her death.
Mrs Booker, who had waited at the hospital during the operation, said the surgeon initially reassured her that everything had gone as planned, apart from a ‘little problem’ with her blood clotting.
She said: “I phoned home and told my father and the rest of the family that she had come through the operation, which devastates me now.
“I went to intensive care to see her, I took one look at all her readings and felt her body, which was ice cold, and I knew she was going to die. She was lying in a pool of blood. The floor was drenched in blood.
“My father has suffered from nightmares over my mother’s death ever since.
“We just feel very let down and betrayed by the hospital for a death that should never have occurred.”
The day after her mother’s death, Mrs Booker was contacted by the coroner’s office to be informed there would be a post-mortem examination and an inquest into her death, which the family welcomed.
It was then that they discovered a mis-spelling of her German-born mother’s name from ‘Irmgard’ to ‘Irngard’ had been the trigger which ultimately led to her death.
Coroner Andrew Walker concluded that Mrs Cooper died from neglect at an inquest at North London Coroner’s Court, in High Barnet.
The chief executive of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust Jacqueline Docherty said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Irmgard Cooper and say how sorry I am for what happened.
“We accept the coroner’s verdict. Prior to the inquest, the trust undertook a full internal investigation and has implemented systems to ensure that incidents of this nature do not occur again.”
Irmgard Cooper with daughter Lorraine Booker