Hospital's 'series of failures' led to woman's death

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A 19-year-old woman died because a series of gross failures by doctors meant she had surgical swabs left inside her for eight years after an operation, an inquest jury ruled yesterday.

A 19-year-old woman died because a series of gross failures by doctors meant she had surgical swabs left inside her for eight years after an operation, an inquest jury ruled yesterday.

Karen Murray, of Southport, Merseyside, collapsed and died after complaining of stomach pains while holidaying in Corfu with her boyfriend in May 1998.

A jury at Southport coroner's court returned a rare verdict of misadventure contributed to by neglect and said she had been killed because five nine-inch square medical swabs had been gradually strangulating her bowel since an operation at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital in 1990.

Despite an X-ray six years after the operation which revealed five "foreign objects" in her abdomen, the surgeon who examined her believed she had eaten something which would pass through her body, and did not consider her to be in any danger, the inquest heard.

Ms Murray, who the jury was told was "terrified of doctors", failed to attend three appointments following the X-ray.

The deputy coroner for Sefton, Alfred Cook, told the jury before they delivered their verdict that death by misadventure contributed to by neglect meant a gross failure to provide basic or medical attention.

Ms Murray's mother Mary, boyfriend Mark Holloway and other family and friends wept openly as Mr Cook said: "You have suffered a tragic, tragic loss and I am very sorry."

Paul Walker, Ms Murray's brother, said after the verdict: "It has been a long two and a half year emotional and traumatic period for the family.

"We would like to thank everyone for their support and I speak myself for the rest of the family. We are happy with the verdict that has been given."

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