A part-time English teacher bled to death after a routine back operation because the surgeon failed to spot he had accidentally cut through an artery in her spine, an inquest has heard.
Andrea Green was pronounced dead just 14 hours after undergoing a simple procedure to relieve back pain caused by a slipped disc at the Barnsley District Hospital in 2010.
Consultant surgeon Hany Ismaiel led the operation but failed to notice that he had severed the artery - allowing the 42-year-old patient to be sewn up and sent to the hospital’s recovery unit.
A post-mortem examination revealed that Ms Green – who was studying for her third engineering degree at the time – suffered extensive internal bleeding in the hours before she died.
Ms Green reportedly spent her time in recovery complaining of a stomach ache, while her abdomen inflated like a balloon, and her blood pressure fell rapidly – a sign of internal bleeding. Hospital staff failed to spot the symptoms, however, so the artery was not repaired in time.
The inquest heard that Ms Green’s death occurred in the midst of a dispute between orthopaedic consultants and management over staffing levels at the hospital.
The surgeons reportedly claimed it was “only a matter of time” before a serious clinical incident occurred thanks to “unsafe” work and pressure levels.
Management are said to have disputed this, allegedly referring to the consultants as a “cancer” and accusing them of deliberately working slowly in order to secure overtime pay for clinics on evenings and weekends.
Mr Ismaiel was suspended following Ms Green’s death, during which time his colleagues sent a letter to the hospital’s then chief executive Sandra Taylor blaming a “catalogue of systemic failures” caused by high pressure and staffing cuts in a department that was losing £2 million a year.
Ms Green’s inquest was originally suspended by Sheffield Coroners, who asked police to determine whether the dispute played any role in her death.
The Crown Prosecution Service investigated accusations of corporate manslaughter but found insufficient evidence to begin legal proceedings.
Ms Green’s family subsequently launched a claim for medical negligence which was settled out of court for a six-figure sum.
The inquest continues.Reuse content