Thursday 5 December 2019

Doctor weeps at inquest into the death of patient after operation

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A CONSULTANT gynaecologist broke down in tears at an inquest into the death of a patient from complications following a hysterectomy.

Dr Mona Joyce said she had done her best for Linda Royal (50) of Forest Green, Kingswood Heights, Tallaght in Dublin.

Mrs Royal died at St James's Hospital on September 29 2008, six days after the elective hysterectomy had been performed at the private Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin.

Dr Joyce told the inquest at the Dublin City Coroner's Court yesterday that she was a "caring doctor" who had not ignored the warning signs of an impending serious outcome.

A solicitor for the family, Damien Tansey, put it to Dr Joyce that she had insisted that Mrs Royal was urgently seen by surgeons at St James's once her patient's condition had deteriorated "dramatically" on September 28.

"If you had pulled out all the stops on September 26, we wouldn't be here today," he suggested.

Dr Joyce became upset, saying: "If I'd known the train was going to crash, I would have escorted my patient off it."


Had she had known Ms Royal was developing such "rare complications", she would not have stood idly by, she said.

In the days following Mrs Royal's hysterectomy, the levels of pain relief administered to her had been routine and her symptoms had been normal.

Examining her on September 26, Dr Joyce said she did not get any "flashing lights".

Two days later, Mrs Royal was in distress with increasing abdominal pain. There was no urine output, which Dr Joyce agreed was a sign that Ms Royal's kidneys were failing.

Questioned by Mr Tansey, Dr Joyce said it was not until that day that she considered "something unusual" had happened and that up until then, Ms Royal's condition had been no different from any other woman after the same operation.

Mr Tansey suggested that when the tests came back on September 28 they were indicative of a "very ill woman" and Dr Joyce agreed.

She said the post mortem report had shown no surgical misadventure. Ms Royal had bowel ischemia, which she said was "extremely rare."

Earlier at yesterday's hearing, a clinical nurse at Mount Carmel, Marie Flynn, testified that on the day before Mrs Royal's death, she had witnessed her "squirming around" in pain in the high-dependency unit. Two hours later, she was removed to St James's.

The inquest was adjourned for mention on April 1.

Irish Independent

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