Pensioner’s death during surgery at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, was an accident - coroner finds

The death of a pensioner undergoing surgery at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, was accidental, a coroner found today (Friday).

Walthamstow Coroners Court heard how Reginald Martin, 89, of Haskard Road, Dagenham, had suffered a series of cardiac arrests after complications arose during an operation in September last year.

But Mr Martin’s daughter Amanda McArdle, 48, told the Recorder Queen’s, in Rom Valley Way, had done “a terrific job under very difficult and challenging circumstances” and that she was “very grateful that they tried to save my father, because he was a very ill man.”

Doctors encountered difficulty while trying to repair an aneurysm in Mr Martin’s abdominal aorta with a stent – a tube that is passed down the inside of the blood vessel.

East London coroner Mr Chinyere Inyama heard evidence from three doctors that inserting the stent had ruptured the vessel during surgery, causing internal bleeding that led to Mr Martin’s death.


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Mr Inyama focused on the issue of whether consultant vascular surgeon Gabriel Sayer had used “excessive force” when inserting the tube.

Mr Sayer, who said he had performed about 140 similar operations during his time at Queen’s, told Mr Inyama: “Often it’s very difficult and you have to make a judgment about how much force is enough – and there’s no real answer to that.”

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Explaining how he had used “more force” after the stent became stuck, Mr Sayer said: “Clearly I did use excessive force for the patient, because it resulted in the rupture of the blood vessel.”

But he added: “I’ve used that much force before and it’s been successful.”

Mr Sayer and consultant surgeon Mr Coker both told the court Mr Martin had been “frail” at the time of the operation.

Mr Sayer said he and the rest of the surgical team had “gone through all the steps we possibly could” to save Mr Martin after he began bleeding. “We tried our very best,” he said.

Sadly Mr Martin had lost too much blood and his heart stopped beating.

In a written statement, pathologist Dr Calder identified the cause of death as a retroperitoneal haemorrhage. Mr Inyama recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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