Woman died after keyhole operation

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The Independent Online
A COMPANY director died after hi-tech 'keyhole surgery' in a private hospital which was carried out by a doctor performing the operation for the first time, a coroner's court was told yesterday.

Ruth Silverman, 49, died of blood poisoning 10 days after the bowel operation at the Portland Hospital in central London on 12 June, St Pancras Coroner's Court, central London, was told. Her family say they were unaware she was going to have keyhole surgery, and say she died of blood poisoning after the bowel was punctured.

Dr Russell McDonald, senior registrar at Hillingdon Hospital, west London, who performed the operation, said he had no experience in that particular operation.

He said he had been 'concerned' at the prospect of the operation, but was reassured by the presence of two other doctors, Mr Albert Singer, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and Mr Peter Hawley, a senior consultant. He said he believed the operation had gone well. 'We were all happy that there had been no damage.'

However, Dr McDonald had raised the possibility of a cut in the bowel when Mrs Silverman's condition deteriorated. He said he raised the fear with Mr Singer in a telephone call. He said: 'I thought a perforation had been caused because she seemed to be septic.'

But Mr Hawley, who was mainly reponsible for Mrs Silverman after the operation, was never told of the fear.

Mrs Silverman, of Hampstead, north London, died on 22 June at University College Hospital of septicaemia caused by a punctured intestine.

On 23 May she had been admitted to Portland Hospital for a hysterectomy. She was operated on a second time because of a bowel obstruction.

The hearing continues today.