Sadness at death of woman, 73

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A MOTHER from Harrogate died after a routine operation at Harrogate Hospital, an inquest has heard.

Margaret Rose Cole, 73, of Markenfield Road, had a cardiac arrest and died on September 4, 2009, after a gallstones operation.

She had developed an infection after a procedure to remove the stones cut into her small intestine.

Coroner Robert Turnbull, at Harrogate Magistrates Court last Thursday, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Speaking to her family he said: “You must have many questions about what happened here, where your mother went in for a routine procedure and for this terrible thing to have happened.

“All I can do is offer you my sincere condolences for your loss.”

The inquest heard how Mrs Cole had gone in to hospital on September 2 to remove the stones from her common bile duct.

But an incision had cut into the first section of her small intestine and she developed an infection.

In the hours that followed she appeared to be fighting it well, and a CT scan showed that the cut had sealed itself. But the infection had already taken hold and her condition began to deteriorate rapidly.

On September 3 she was transferred to a life-support machine in intensive care but she died the following morning.

“There was no magic bullet to fix it,” said Dr Malcolm Thompson, who had treated her on the ICU. “She was in as serious a condition as you could get.

“We just had to support her while she fought it. There’s nothing else that could have been done.”

Questions had been raised about whether the consultant, Dr Gareth Davies, had enough time to complete the procedure as he had been scheduled for training that afternoon.

But coroner Robert Turnbull, recording a verdict of accidental death, said he was satisfied that the doctor had not been rushed.

“As far as he was concerned the procedure had gone well, although clearly there had been problems,” said Mr Turnbull.

“I am told, and I have no reason to doubt, that intervention was the most appropriate course.

“I’ve no doubt that the decision to go ahead with this procedure was taken on proper medical grounds.”

In a statement issued following the inquest, Harrogate and District NHS Foundations Trust said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Cole’s family at this time.

“The trust accepts the coroner’s findings that her death was due to recognised complications following an operation and that despite the best efforts of hospital staff, Mrs Cole sadly passed away. All the staff involved were deeply saddened by her death.”