Saturday, June 25

Pensioner bleeds to death during operation after spelling mistake on blood supply



Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, north-west London A pensioner bled to death after a spelling mistake meant blood intended for her during an operation was sent back.

Irmgard Cooper, 85, died at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, north-west London, as blood supplies were severely delayed.

An inquest at North London Coroner’s Court heard that her name had been spelt as Irngard instead of Irmgard, which resulted in the delay.

In addition, the surgeon had not been told no blood supplies were available during the operation until he was carrying out the procedure on May 7 last year.

By the time replacement supplies arrived, Mrs Cooper, who lived in Hayling Island, Hampshire, had lost all her blood and she died on the operating table, the Brent and Kilburn Times reported.

The German-born mother of two, who had three grandchildren and had been married to husband Raymond for 62 years, had undergone an operation to repair a large bulge in the main artery to her heart.

Coroner Andrew Walker found gross failings in the effort to provide blood at a critical time when it was already known that supplies would be required, the report said.

A serious incident investigation report by the hospital found that Mrs Cooper died from serious blood clotting difficulties, cardiovascular collapse and haemorrhage, and that the delay in giving blood caused her death.

He daughter, Lorraine Booker, told the newspaper: “My father has suffered from nightmares over my mother’s death ever since. We just feel very let down and betrayed by the hospital for a death that should never have occurred.”

When she was taken to intensive care to see her mother, she was “lying in a pool of blood, which was running off the bed” and the “floor was drenched in blood”, Mrs Booker said.

Renu Daly, from medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, who is acting on behalf of the family, said: “The first error was the mis-spelling of the patient’s name on the blood sample.

“The lack of communication between the anaesthetist and the surgeon over the absence of blood was the second error.

“Mrs Cooper was effectively dead from the time she arrived in intensive care. She was already suffering from catastrophic internal bleeding, which meant death was inevitable.”

Jacqueline Docherty, the chief executive of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Irmgard Cooper and say how sorry I am for what happened.

“We accept the coroner’s verdict. Prior to the inquest, the trust undertook a full internal investigation, and has implemented systems to ensure that incidents of this nature do not occur again.”