Dialysis accident fatal - inquest
A MAN died when a tube being inserted into his veins punctured a vein wall, causing massive bleeding into his chest, Dublin City Coroner's Court heard yesterday.
Laurence Whelan (41), of Carrighill Drive, Portmarnock was being fitted with a new catheter to allow the removal of blood for ongoing kidney dialysis treatment at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, the inquest heard.
Mr Whelan had renal disease and was awaiting a third kidney transplant, after the first two had been unsuccessful. He was admitted to Beaumont Hospital on September 4, 1997 with an infection in his blood.
He was treated successfully with antibiotics and the old catheter was removed. It was decided to fit a new catheter on September 8, as further dialysis was urgently required.
Dr Peter Dupont, nephrology registrar at the hospital, carried out the ``routine'' procedure under local anaesthetic assisted by another registrar, Dr Tabinda Dugal.
The catheter was in place when Mr Whelan complained of breathlessness. His oxygen levels had fallen to 80pc and he became ``clammy,'' Dr Dupont said.
Mr Whelan's blood pressure fell drastically and Dr Dupont summoned the cardiac arrest emergency team.
Mr Whelan's heart and breathing then stopped and the medical team attempted resuscitation, but he was pronounced dead at 4.20pm.
Dr Callagy, a pathologist, said that Mr Whelan had died of ``left haemothorax, secondary to an acute tear to the innominate vein''.
Questioned by Dominic Hussey BL, counsel for Mr Whelan's family, Dr Dupont said no attempt had been made to screen for blood clots as that would be ``potentially hazardous''. The team was devastated by the death and had carried out a review of procedures.
The jury delivered a verdict of death by misadventure.