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'Hospital let down Haslingden knee-op patient'
A PENSIONER who died from heart failure and complications after a ‘routine’ knee operation was ‘drastically’ let down by the hospital, her family claims.
Elizabeth Chadwick’s relatives have now been told an inquest will be held to investigate what happened, after her death was initially recorded as being due to ‘natural causes’.
Mrs Chadwick, 76, was said to have suffered a post operative complication that caused excessive bleeding from a needle placed in her arm and the wound on her knee.
The grandmother-of-12’s condition deteriorated so much while she was recovering from the operation at Burnley General Hospital, doctors decided to transfer her as an emergency patient to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, according to her daughter, Bev Young.
But as her family arrived at the hospital they said they became alarmed at how little staff seemed to know about Mrs Chadwick’s condition.
Mrs Young said: “When we arrived at A and E at the Royal Blackburn Hospital no one seemed to have any idea my mum was being transferred.
“When she arrived by ambulance it very quickly became apparent that the staff thought she had come from home.
“I had to explain what happened and book her in which I thought was very strange.
“Then very quickly her condition deteriorated until they were forced to move her to intensive care. It was only then they told me she desperately needed a blood transfusion and she had lost so much blood her organs were shutting down, including her heart.”
In less than 24 hours the mother-of-five, of Clarence Avenue, Haslingden had died.
Doctors initially recorded the cause of death as natural causes – the result of acute heart failure.
But the family who were sure the great-grandmother’s death could have been avoided refused to accept this and contacted the coroner for advice.
A post mortem examination was ordered by East Lancashire Coroner Michael Singleton who added the knee operation to her death certificate as a cause of death. Mrs Young, said: “Just before my mum went in for her operation she had been on holiday. Apart from her mobility she was in great health for her age.
“The whole family has been devastated by her death, you don’t expect someone to go into hospital for a routine, planned operation and never come out.
“The whole time she was in hospital I was concerned about her treatment. Immediately after the operation I had to ask the nurse to change her nightdress because it was saturated with blood.
“Then when she was recovering from the operation, I learnt she had had a general anaesthetic instead of an epidural. Doctors told her she had to have the epidural because her blood did not clot properly.
“We feel the hospital drastically let her down.”
An inquest is now due to take place on April 25 to establish how and why Mrs Chadwick died last October.
Lynn Wissett, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Young and her family. Mrs Young has not raised any concerns directly with us. The trust is working with Her Majesty’s Coroner.” who is carrying out a full Coronial Inquest.
“Should Mrs Young wish to discuss his concerns with us, I would urge her to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”