Tuesday 17 October 2017

'I lost my husband and my best friend of 50 years' - Widow whose husband died after 'medical misadventure'

Ellen Hackett holding a photo of her late husband John Hackett, surrounded by her family, after the inquest into his death. Coroner's Court, Store Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Ellen Hackett holding a photo of her late husband John Hackett, surrounded by her family, after the inquest into his death. Coroner's Court, Store Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Conor Feehan and Louise Roseingrave

A WIDOW has spoken of her distress at the loss of a loving husband and father after an inquest returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

Ellen Hackett's husband John (71), of Finglas, died from a blood clot four weeks after surgery at the Mater Hospital on November 5, 2014.

A solicitor for his family said relatives are now planning a civil case against the HSE, which runs the hospital where he had the operation, and Clontarf hospital, where he went to recuperate.

Taking the stand at yesterday's inquest, Mr Hackett's widow Ellen said his coat still hangs in the hall in the family home, but said "John is not where he should be".

"You only have to put a foot in the door of our family home to see the shock and devastation of John's death," she said.

"The emptiness is palpable. Life has stood still for us as a family since the day John died.

"Each day is just another day to live in this nightmare of wondering where it all went wrong. I have lost my husband, my best friend and life companion of nearly 50 years."

Family solicitor Damien Tansey said that while Mr Hackett was on blood thinning medication in the Mater, this did not continue after his transfer to Clontarf Orthopaedic Hospital on November 14.

"Even though he had the classic signs of an evolving embolism which ultimately killed him, he was never given heparin in Clontarf until the day he died," Mr Tansey said.

Mr Hackett was transferred from the Mater to Clontarf nine days after his operation, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

On the morning he died, on December 3, 2014, a locum doctor at Clontarf hospital reviewed him as he was complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. Dr Suranga Senanayake ordered blood tests and a chest X-ray.

However, the results of a D-dimer test, used to help rule out the presence of a blood clot, prompted the doctor's decision to send him by ambulance to the Mater's emergency department.

"I commenced Mr Hackett on Clexane prophylactically, awaiting blood results, as I was suspicious of a pulmonary embolism," Dr Senanayake said.

The inquest heard that Mr Hackett had several risk factors including a previous heart attack, deep-vein thrombosis, diabetes, was a former smoker and was obese.

He collapsed and died at Clontarf hospital before he could be transferred to the Mater.

Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the chest pain ex- perienced by Mr Hackett two days before his death was consistent with a growing embolism.

The cause of death was recorded as a pulmonary embolism or blood clot.

Returning the verdict, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said multiple risks should be taken into account.

She also said a patient's relative immobility should be considered when deciding whether to continue with certain drugs.

Herald

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