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Hospital apologises after death of pensioner
1:34pm Friday 28th September 2012 in News
A CORONER is looking to make recommendations for staff practice at Salisbury District Hospital following the death of a pensioner from Wilton .
David Lewis of Nadder Views, Ugford, died following key-hole surgery for bowel cancer in May 2010.
The court heard Mr Lewis, 79, had come through a seven-hour operation on May 26, but suffered a cardiac arrest the following day after medication he was on masked his true medical state.
The inquest, which heard from a number of medical consultants and nursing staff on duty at the time, was told Mr Lewis had died from a ‘slow bleed’, caused by the surgery.
Doctors on call at the time believed he was dehydrated and was having an adverse reaction to morphine, and therefore gave him medication to counter the effects plus additional fluid.
The treatment made Mr Lewis seem better but beta blockers he was on for an existing medical condition concealed the symptoms of blood loss.
Coroner David Ridley said the inquest was not “a court of blame” but an opportunity to “learn lessons” if at all possible. In recording a narrative verdict he said the focus of those taking care of Mr Lewis was on treating his reaction to the pain medication and maintaining his blood pressure and by the time they realised something was badly wrong it was “too late”.
The court heard that measures introduced since Mr Lewis’ death include a more comprehensive handover between doctors, better documenting of visits and a more in-depth observation of patients by surgeons after an operation. During the inquest, Mr Ridley also suggested methods of highlighting further a patient’s use of beta blockers.
He is now considering writing a letter to the trust in relation to his findings. In a statement released by Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, a spokesman said: “Following the conclusion of the coroner’s inquest into the death of David Lewis in May 2010, the trust again apologises to the family and offers its condolences to them.
“Following Mr Lewis’ death, the trust carried out a review of his case following which changes were made.
“The trust met with Mrs Lewis and the full report and its findings were shared with her.
“Our thoughts are with Mrs Lewis and her family at this difficult time.”