Man died from injury caused during op

A MURROW man who underwent keyhole surgery to correct a hernia died four days later from an undetected injury sustained during the operation, an inquest has heard.

Allan Barratt (53) of The Pigeons died on June 18 last year in Peterborough District Hospital, four days after undergoing laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to fix a number of herniae.

An inquest at Peterborough Town Hall on Monday heard how during the operation Mr Barratt’s bowel had been damaged, causing a leak, which caused peritonitis – an inflammation of a membrane in the abdomen.

Pankaj Jha, specialist registrar at the hospital, who saw Mr Barratt every day following the operation, told the inquest: “The operation seemed to have gone smoothly. There was no indication of any injury to the bowel.

“The following day he complained of pain, but this is normal, and all seemed well,

“There was concern he had lung problems, and all factors pointed towards pneumonia. It was a large hernia, and this is a risk. It is quite rare for there to be a bowel problem, and at the time he would have been prone to pneumonia. It is easy to say in hindsight that we should have examined him to see if there was a bowel problem.”

The perforation to the bowel was discovered following a CT scan on June 18, and the organ was repaired, but Mr Barratt died later that day as a result of the infection.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Jenny Baker, of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Allan’s sudden and unexpected death has left his family utterly devastated.”

Coroner Gordon Ryall recorded a narrative verdict, and said: “Post operatively it is thought he was showing symptoms of pneumonia, and this was treated accordingly.

“However in the early hours of Friday, June 18 because of his deteriorating condition it was discovered he had a perforation of the bowel. The post mortem shows the cause of death to be sepsis, caused by the injury to the bowel.”

John Randall, medical director at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Whenever a patient dies unexpectedly we conduct an extensive investigation. As a result of the investigation following Mr Barratt’s death a number of actions were taken to minimise the risk of a recurrence of a similar serious incident. In particular, the threshold for intervention has been lowered for those patients who develop any abnormal symptoms following laparoscopic surgery.

“Recent guidelines produced by the National Patient Safety Agency have reinforced this policy. In addition, the trust is continuing to work with staff to improve the standard of record-keeping and the quality of hand-over between doctors.”