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Mum who died one week after Mt Carmel operation

A 50-year-old mother of three died after suffering blood poisoning just a week after she had a hysterectomy at a private hospital.

Linda Royal of Forest Green, Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, Dublin 24 was seriously ill when she 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 an inquest into the mother-of-three's death.

Her husband, Mr Louis Royal, told the inquest that following his wife's transfer to St James's Hospital he was told by a doctor there that there was nothing he could do for Mrs Royal as the damage was too extensive.

The doctor told him that if "they'd got Linda a day or two before that we wouldn't be having this conversation", Mr Royal said.

Giving evidence, Dr Mona Joyce told the inquest the procedure on September 22 was very straightforward.

Dr Joyce said that up to September 27 she had no cause for concern about Mrs Royal, other than post-operative constipation.

The doctor, who saw Mrs Royal every day, did not suspect any major post-operative complication.

When Dr Joyce was called to see Mrs Royal on the morning of September 28 she was concerned by her "sudden" and "dramatic deterioration".

She considered she might have a bowel perforation and organised an urgent transfer to St James's to an intensive care bed. It was the second time she had seen her that morning, having been called to see her at 5.30am.

Questioned by solicitor for the family Mr 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".

"The advice I've received suggests very strongly that had the treatment for Mrs Royal been appropriate and adequate in Mount Carmel that on the 26th she would have been transferred to St James's or some other hospital and had that happened we wouldn't be here today," said Mr Tansey.

But Dr Joyce said that looking back she really felt she had no grounds to transfer Mrs Royal on the Friday or Saturday evening.

A post mortem examination found Mrs Royal died of multi-organ failure because of septicaemia -- or blood poisoning. This was as a consequence of the hysterectomy.

The inquest continues today.