Mother died of blood poisoning after hysterectomy, inquest told
Published 16/03/2010 | 05:00
A 50-year-old mother of three died of blood poisoning less than a week after she had had a hysterectomy at a private hospital.
Linda Royal of Forest Green, Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, Dublin 24, was rushed from Mount Carmel Hospital to St James's Hospital on September 28, 2008 -- six days after a surgical procedure to remove her womb at the private clinic.
She died at St James's Hospital the following day.
Pathologist Dr Mairin McMenamin and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Mona Joyce, who performed the hysterectomy, both broke down in tears in the witness box at Dublin City Coroner's Court yesterday on the first day of the inquest.
The deceased's husband, Louis Royal, told the inquest that following his wife's transfer to St James's Hospital, he was told by a doctor that nothing could be done for her as the damage was too extensive.
Mr Royal said the doctor told him that "if they'd got Linda a day or two before that, we wouldn't be having this conversation".
Dr Mona Joyce told the inquest that the procedure on September 22 was very straightforward. Up until the 27th, she had no cause for concern.
Dr Joyce said she saw Mrs Royal every day and did not suspect any major post-operative complication.
But when she was called to see Mrs Royal on the morning of September 28, she was concerned by her "sudden" and "dramatic deterioration".
The doctor considered that Mrs Royal might have a bowel perforation and organised an urgent transfer to an intensive-care bed at St James's.
Questioned by the solicitor for the family, Damien Tansey, as to whether episodes of low blood pressure and a fast heart rate on September 26 were the beginning of a process that leads to septic shock, Dr Joyce said: "It might be."
Mr Tansey said: "The advice I've received suggests very strongly that had the treatment for Mrs Royal been appropriate and adequate in Mount Carmel, then on the 26th she would have been transferred to St James's or some other hospital. Had that happened, we wouldn't be here today."
Dr Joyce replied that she felt then that she had no grounds to transfer Mrs Royal on the Friday or Saturday evening.
A post-mortem found that Mrs Royal had died of multi-organ failure because of septicaemia (blood poisoning). This, said pathologist Dr McMenamin, was as a consequence of the hysterectomy.
She said there was no evidence of a perforation.
The inquest continues today.