Hos­pi­tal blun­der led to gran bleed­ing to death

Pen­sioner died hours af­ter blood sup­plies failed to ar­rive

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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