Tuesday 17 September 2019

Mother (76) died after jugular vein was torn during routine surgery

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David Raleigh

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has offered its "sincerest apologies" to the family of a woman who died after her jugular vein was torn during a routine surgical procedure two years ago.

Teresa Lyons's daughter Geraldine O'Brien told her inquest that on the day her mother died, her family were forced to leave her alone in a "hugely overcrowded" emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.

The family were told by staff to leave their 76-year-old mother alone in the department as there was only room for patients, Ms O'Brien said.

A verdict of medical misadventure was returned at the inquest, held at Limerick Coroners Court.

Ms Lyons, of Granville Park, Limerick, who had a history of diabetes, presented at the hospital on December 29, 2016, vomiting and suffering with diarrhoea.

She died eight hours later during a routine surgical procedure after her condition worsened, her inquest heard.

Reading from the family's victim impact statement, Ms O'Brien said she and her siblings felt "guilty" because they never got a chance to say goodbye to their mother.

"Staff, while coping, were struggling in packed [conditions]... we were asked to leave to make room for even more patients.

"While we were very reluctant to leave mam alone, we were given no choice," Ms O'Brien said. The family remained in the waiting room throughout the day. They were not informed Ms Lyons had been moved out of the emergency department to intensive care, nor were they told she was due to undergo a surgical procedure, Ms O'Brien said.

Ms Lyons died during a "renal replacement therapy" procedure after her kidneys had failed. The inquest heard it was a routine procedure with a very low risk to the patient.

Dr Andras Mikor, a senior registrar at UHL at the time who carried out the procedure, said he called for assistance because he could not remove a surgical wire guide inserted in Ms Lyons's neck to deliver fluids and medication.

When the wire was eventually removed, it was found to have "a kink" in it, which it was accepted had probably "snagged" on Ms Lyons's right internal jugular vein, causing it to tear the vein.

A post-mortem concluded death was due to hypovolemic shock as a result of a tear to the right internal jugular vein.

Irish Independent

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