Inquest: Complications following necessary surgery caused death of Hornchurch pensioner after knee op

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... - Credit: Archant

A pensioner died at Queen’s Hospital after suffering from an infection and having two heart attacks, after having a knee replacement operation.

Neville Trenkel, of Hacton Drive, Hornchurch, was a seemingly fit and healthy 75-year-old who didn’t let his arthritic knee get in the way of his hobbies which included walking, cycling and gardening, Walthamstow Coroners Court heard on Monday.

But in January of last year he had the knee replacement operation at King George’s Hospital in Goodmayes.

Apparently fit and well, the former bus driver was discharged within days.

Orthopaedic consultant Mr Ahmad Ali told the inquest that there is a “one to two per cent chance” of a patient picking up an infection following such an operation.


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At Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, in March, he went under general anaesthetic and had an operation to clean out the knee to try to rid it of the infection.

But it did not clear up, and he had another operation, after which he had a suspected heart attack and was put on kidney dialysis.

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Despite that, he was still able to sit up in bed and speak to his wife, and showed signs of improvement up to April 20.

But after suffering a second heart attack, Mr Trenkel died on April 22.

Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe, shortly before recording a verdict that his death was caused by complications following necessary surgery, said to Mrs Trenkel: “I find it remarkable that he managed to sit up in bed and was talking to you.

“Tragically he managed to get through all that and on April 22 he had another heart attack and this time it wasn’t possible for his heart to get back from that.”

A post-mortem examination showed that Mr Trenkel’s heart had been degenerating for some time due to a condition known as myocardial infarction.

Mrs Trenkel questioned the need for the repeat operations and the strain they put on her husband but Dr Radcliffe said: “I think it did [need to be done], if you have an infected joint you have to treat it aggressively or you risk septicaemia and amputation.”

Mrs Trenkel replied: “I suppose it was like being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.”

After the hearing Mrs Trenkel said: “I wasn’t happy with the hospital at first, but they’ve convinced me they did everything they could for him.

“We were happily married for 47 years, it was a great shock and loss.”

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