Daughter’s anguish over Burnley mother’s gallstones op death - inquest

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A FRUSTRATED daughter felt her mother’s death could have been avoided if Royal Blackburn Hospital had acted more quickly, an inquest heard.

Burnley Coroner’s Court was told how Mrs Marjorie Black (87), of Queen’s Park Road, died in Airedale Hospital following an operation for gallstones in November 2009.

Mrs Black had been transferred to Airedale after her daughter Margaret believed doctors at Blackburn were not doing their best to sort out the problem – a claim strongly denied by Miss Racquelle Morris, representing East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mrs Black, who used a battery operated chair after not having a fractured leg dealt with properly eight years earlier, was first taken to the Royal Blackburn two months before her death complaining of pain and discomfort.

A scan was unable to determine the full extent of the problem as Mrs Black was not able to fully lie down due to her injury.

After returning home Miss Black said her mother never received any letters or results before going back to the hospital on November 7th with more pains.

Consultant vascular surgeon Mr Haytham Al-Khaffaf said the decision not to operate on Mrs Black was a pure judgement call.

“The conventional way would have been to operate on her abdomen which would be an invasive procedure and in my opinion she was not fit for that.

“The most minimally invasive way to get to the gallstones was an ERCP. We talked with the gastroenterologist who felt it could not be done because of the lower leg deformity.

“An alternative suggestion was made which involved a needle being used to drain the bile from the blocked bile duct and give temporary relief. The radiologist thought there were considerable risks with this and met with Miss Black and her mother to discuss it. All interventions could not be done or were too risky.”

Addressing Miss Black, East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor said: “I sympathise with your own frustrations. The evidence demonstrates that Royal Blackburn Hospital made efforts to treat your mum, you could only see that nothing was happening. This is actually a natural cause of death but I feel it is most appropriate to return a narrative verdict which tells more of a story.

“Marjorie Black died at Airedale Hospital from multi-organ failure following a gall bladder operation which had not been deemed suitable at Royal Blackburn Hospital.”