Medics ‘missed’ chance to treat pensioner

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A pensioner died after suffering complications following routine surgery at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Bernard Openshaw, 78, of Holly Crescent, Crofton, died from a haemorrhage last April after a “serious missed opportunity” to treat internal bleeding following gall bladder surgery, an inquest heard last week.

His family claim they only found out there was a problem after looking at his medical notes, and nobody told them his condition could be life-threatening.

They have criticised the care the retired colliery manager received from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

The hearing in Leeds was told that during the surgery in October 2011, his common bile duct was damaged - a known risk of the operation.

The damage was repaired but leakage of bile and bleeding continued.

On March 14 he was taken to St James Infirmary, Leeds, for a corrective procedure.

But the operation was cancelled four times and never happened because the hospital was busy.

Mr Openshaw became unresponsive, and he was treated at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

But his condition deteriorated and he died on April 16.

Recording a narrative verdict, West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff said Mr Openshaw should have been transferred for treatment and “not to do so was a serious missed opportunity”. Mr Hinchliff said: “Earlier intervention at this time could haver altered the outcome.”

Earlier Ms Wilby told the inquest neither Mr Openshaw or his family were told of the seriousness of his condition, and she was told not to look at his medical notes.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Openshaw’s daughter Lynn Wilby, said: “This is an appalling state of affairs in the NHS.

“They said I had no right to look at his notes because they were confidential.”

She praised staff at the LGI, where the family gathered at Mr Openshaw’s bedside during the final days of his life after it was decided nothing more could be done to save him.

Mr Openshaw was also the sole carer for his wife of 54 years Margaret, who has dementia.

Ms Wilby said: “His untimely death resulted in her having to go full-time into care and fundamentally changed her life forever.”

Dr Richard Jenkins, medical director at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Mr Openshaw’s family for their sad loss.

“In view of the coroner’s findings, we will be carrying out an in-depth investigation into the case.

“If Mr Openshaw’s family would like to meet with us to discuss any aspects of his care we would be happy to arrange a meeting.”