Husband to sue over wife's death

THE husband of a woman who died after a mistake during an operation at a private hospital said yesterday that he would take civil action after an inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Ruth Silverman, 49, a financial director of Hampstead, north London, died after her intestine was mistakenly damaged during keyhole surgery by two doctors who had never performed the operation before, St Pancras coroner's court in London was told.

The four top consultants responsible for Mrs Silverman after the operation at the pounds 200-a-night Portland Hospital failed to agree who was in charge and failed to administer the urgent antibiotic treatment she needed for her to survive, the inquest was told.

Mrs Silverman died after a perforation in the bowel caused by the operation on 14 June led to blood poisoning. The coroner, Dr Douglas Chambers, said: 'There may well have been errors of judgement. I am not called upon to decide that. It is a combination of missed opportunities which led to this unfortunate lady's death.'

After the hearing, Michael Silverman said he believed there had been negligence. He added: 'There will be civil action. I will take this as far as it can go.'