Saturday 25 January 2020

Woman died from complications 16 years after brain surgery, inquest hears

The Dublin Coroner's Court
The Dublin Coroner's Court

Louise Roseingrave

A 51-year old woman died due to complications of neurosurgery 16 years after an operation to remove an intracranial cyst.

Mrs Gulrukh Haris died at St Vincent’s Hospital on June 19 2017, some 16 years after complications of neurosurgery left her in a minimally conscious state.

The married mother of two had undergone surgery to remove an intracranial colloid cyst at Beaumont Hospital in 2001.

She was discharged on October 8 2001 but was re-admitted to Tralee General Hospital eight days later. She was transferred to Cork University Hospital and from there re-admitted to Beaumont. The woman suffered two cardiac arrests and developed post-operative hydrocephalus, an accumulation of fluid within the brain.

Despite medical interventions, she remained in a minimally conscious state, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

Her son, who travelled from London to be present in court, said that since 2001 his mother had spent her life between three different hospitals.

He said the family were initially hopeful that communication with Mrs Haris was possible but tests showed that her mind was not functioning.

She was a long-term patient at the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

On June 13 2017 the woman was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin with aspiration pneumonia. Later that day sepsis was diagnosed. The woman’s condition deteriorated and she developed multi-organ failure. She was pronounced dead at 4.43pm on June 19.

Her death was due to neurological injuries sustained as a result of the initial neurosurgery, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said.

The cause of death aspiration pneumonia resulting from injuries sustained due to neurosurgery performed on a third ventricle colloid cyst in 2001.

Dr Cullinane returned a verdict of medical misadventure and said the case was a tragic one because the initial presenting problem was not a life limiting one.

“Although there is an interval of 16 years, it still falls into the category of medical misadventure because it’s a complication of the surgery that...brought about her premature death.” the coroner said.

“It is very difficult, because the person is physically there. It’s difficult when they are not truly with you,” the coroner said, extending condolences to the woman’s family.

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