Woman, 42, bled to death after routine back op in hospital where staff had warned bosses about 'grave risks to patients'
Andrea Green died hours after the operation at Barnsley District Hospital
Post-mortem report listed cause of death as internal bleeding
It later emerged she may not have needed the surgery after allStaff had already warned about 'extreme pressure and stress' in department
11:17 GMT, 22 February 2013
23:22 GMT, 22 February 2013
Andrea Green bled to death after a routine back operation she may not actually have needed
A fit and healthy woman bled to death after having routine surgery for a back pain.
Andrea Green, 42, died just 14 hours after the operation at Barnsley District General Hospital.
Her death came after staff in the hospital's orthopaedic department warned managers about grave risks to patients 'extreme pressure and stress' in the department.
An inquest was halted and Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries asked police to investigate following the emergence of the letter outlining staff concerns.
Ms Green had started suffering from back pain in August 2009. The pain was so bad that she was
bedridden for two weeks despite being prescribed with painkillers by her
GP on numerous occasions.
She was referred to the orthopaedic clinic at Barnsley Hospital but by
the time her appointment came round, her pain had subsided.
The clinic diagnosed her as suffering from a prolapsed (herniated)
disc. Unbeknown to Ms Green, this condition quite often resolves itself
over time without the need for further treatment.
Despite this, the
hospital listed her for surgery and she was advised that the pain
could return if the operation was not carried out.
Because she did not want
the pain to return, she agreed to the procedure, which took place in March 2010.
When her sister Janette Allatt visited her in hospital later that evening, she found her very pale and complaining of stomach pain.
Nurses discovered she had very low blood pressure and because she was in pain, administered medication to relieve it.
At 2am the following morning, Ms Green's father received a telephone call
from the hospital informing them that she was seriously ill. To their horror, by the time her family arrived at the hospital, she had died.
Mrs Allatt, 56, said: 'I just remember being in total and absolute shock. I never expected anything like this to happen. We have so many questions about
what happened to Andrea and believe if it wasn’t for the surgery, she
would still be here today.'
A report from the post mortem examination listed the cause of death as retroperitoneal haemorrhage (internal bleeding).
Staff at Barnsley District General Hospital had warned managers about grave risks to patients due to 'extreme pressure and stress' in the orthopaedic department
The report suggests that the wrong disc
was operated on and that the internal bleed was created during the
Her family later lodged a claim for medical negligence which has now been settled out of court for a six-figure sum.
Andrew Harrison, head of medical negligence at Raley's solicitors, which represented the family, said serious internal bleeding after the operation should have been spotted and treated by doctors.
He said: 'They could have saved her for up to 30 minutes before she died. They had got all the information if someone cared to look.'
The hospital was warned of 'extreme pressure and stress' in the orthopaedic department a letter just weeks before Andrea died in March, 2010.
A letter was sent to former chief executive Sharon Taylor and referred to a meeting between her and medical director Dr Jugnu Mahajan in which the orthopaedic team warned of danger to patients.
The letter stated 'it was only a matter of time before the situation led to significant patient morbidity and mortality'.
The doctor who performed the operation on Andrea is still working at the hospital under supervision.
A spokesman for Barnsley District General Hospital said: 'We are extremely sorry for the loss suffered by Andrea's family. We treat the safety of our patients as an utmost priority.
'After Andrea's death we began a full internal investigation and also sought the views of external experts.
'We have fully implemented all of the changes recommended by those investigations.
'The letter and its contents are a matter for consideration at the inquest and it would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment further.'