Hospital missed chances to save mum

Wendy Jones
Wendy Jones

A POPULAR Wigan mum died after a hospital missed numerous chances to improve her condition through surgery, an inquest heard.

Bolton Coroner’s Court was told Wendy Jones, from Standish Lower Ground, died in June 2013 a couple of days after surgery to try and reduce the amount of pain she was in.

Miss Jones had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2005 and the court heard she was also suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a hernia and the effects of several operation to try and ease her Crohn’s at the time of her death.

However, consultant surgeon Manzarul Haque told the inquest there were as many as four separate occasions when Miss Jones went to hospital but was discharged between 2010 and 2013 when he would have considered operating on her because she was readmitted numerous times over a short period.

Miss Jones had four laporotomies - cutting through the inflamed abdominal wall - for her Crohn’s from 2005 to 2007.

One removed a suture which had resurfaced inside her body, and it left her with a large open wound for two and a half years. Although both Mr Haque and coroner Jennifer Leeming said it was impossible to predict the impact of earlier surgical intervention had it happened, they acknowledged that an op in 2010 would have improved her chances of surviving later surgery.

Mr Haque said: “Miss Jones was down for surgery in June but was not offered general anaesthetic as her COPD made it very risky and she had poor lung capacity. But she could have been offered a spinal anaesthetic, so this was a missed opportunity. When she was admitted to hospital last April and May there were other missed opportunities to consider surgery.

“ If a patient with her symptoms is sent home, in a short period of time her next hospital appearance will be for a severely infected bowel. That is exactly what happened. She should also have been considered because of the short time between admissions and a CT scan which already showed signs of fat stranding in the small bowel. At that point I would have been justified in offering her urgent or even emergency surgery. By the time I got involved she was extremely sick and I operated because of the pain and distress she was in.

“When she was in hospital in June she seemed totally exhausted, was crying out in pain and begging for an operation. At no time can I suggest the outcome would have been different, but the surgery would have had a greater chance of success.”

Miss Jones’s three daughters said after the inquest they felt upset and let down by her treatment, adding: “The missed opportunities for surgery, which she asked for but was not put forward, have now come to light. She was a lovely, friendly person who lived for her grandchildren.”

An autopsy found Miss Jones died of multiple organ failure and bronchopneumonia due to COPD and laporotomies, plus an obstructed bowel due to an incisional hernia and subsequent small intestinal ischemia. Ms Leeming recorded a narrative verdict, accepting the medical causes of death but saying surgical complications contributed.