Doctor apologises to family of man who died after hernia surgery at Northampton hospital

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A doctor has apologised to the family of a 67-year-old man who died after his bowel was accidentally damaged during routine hernia surgery.

Stuart Gordon, known as ‘Topper’, of Queen’s Road, Northampton, was discharged from Northampton General Hospital on October 8 last year after an operation to remove a hernia from his groin.

An inquest at County Hall yesterday heard a number of opportunities were missed to save Mr Gordon’s life after he had suffered a small tear in his bowel during the operation.

The inquest heard Mr Gordon’s wife had phoned the hospital later the same day he had been discharged and told a nurse he was suffering some pain and was feeling sick.

Despite the warning signs, the nurse told Mr Gordon’s wife he should go to the out-of-hours service.

The next day Mr Gordon was seen by Dr Mahmood Kausar who carried out an examination and then decided to send him home with some morphine rather than refer him back to accident and emergency.

Mr Gordon died the next day after he was rushed into hospital and his condition deteriorated.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Dr Kausar said: “On reflection there is no question I should have sent him straight back to hospital.

There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about the sequence of events involving Mr Gordon. I am very sorry for the part I played in this incident.”

The inquest also heard from surgeon Dr Vijay Bahal who carried out the operation.

Dr Bahal said he had only completed one previous hernia removal operation using a new form of keyhole surgery he used on Mr Gordon.

He added he could not be sure what caused the tear in Mr Gordon’s small intestine but believes it must have been one of the ‘ports’ which were put in as part of the preparations for the operation.

Dr Robert Hicks, consultant general surgeon at Northampton General Hospital who also gave evidence, said it was “likely” Mr Gordon would have survived if he had been taken back to hospital when his wife first phoned up or when he saw Dr Kausar.

Dr Hicks said a number of changes had been made at the hospital as the result of Mr Gordon’s death including a new, clearer policy on the information given to patients about when they should come back to hospital.

He added there was now a ‘if in doubt return to theatre’ policy rather than the ‘watch and wait’ policy adopted by Dr Kausar.

He said the nurses had also been given a new colour coded chart of red, amber and green signals which made it clearer when a patient should be taken back to hospital.

The inquest continues tomorrow when Mr Gordon’s wife Jennie Todd-Gordon is due to give evidence.