The husband of a pregnant woman who died weeks after two trainee surgeons mistakenly extracted her ovary instead of her appendix described a “litany of errors” under the NHS experience that left him “revolted”.
In an interview with The London Evening Standard, Adelino De Jesus, 53, insisted that his wife’s death could have been prevented and that moves to rectify problems in the aftermath of a harrowing operation that saw surgeons remove the wrong organs were simply “too late”.
Maria De Jesus, from Dagenham, was heavily pregnant when she developed pains in her stomach and was admitted to Queen’s Hospital, Romford last October. Less than four weeks later she died.
An inquest heard that tests on the extracted tissue suggested it was one of her ovaries, not her appendix, that had been taken out on the operation on October 31. But doctors at the hospital only realised the mistake on November 9, two days after when Mrs De Jesus, 32, was readmitted to the hospital.
The inquest, at Walthamstow Coroner’s court, also revealed that the initial operation on the mother-of-three was undertaken by two trainee surgeons. Mrs De Jesus is deemed to have developed severe sepsis as a result of the appendicitis and died from multiple organ failure.
Mr De Jesus, who plans to sue the hospital, told The London Evening Standard: “The procedure to remove the appendix when Maria was pregnant was not simple. We were told at the inquest that the surgeons had to ‘feel’ for the organ. But they removed the wrong one. We feel that this was negligent.”
Mr De Jesus is understood to have received a letter of apology from the chief executive of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospital Trust, Averil Dongworth, who has admitted liability and apologised to the family.
Yesterday he added: “My wife’s death could have been prevented, I am sure of it. By the time they realised how serious the situation was - and they promised us all the best consultants, it was too late.”
Coroner Chinyere Inyama said 'a lost window of opportunity' could have saved Mrs De Jesus.
The General Medical Council is currently investigating eight medical staff, including a senior surgical consultant, Dr Babatunde Coker, regarding the incident.