A CARLTON man died after complications following cancer surgery, an inquest heard.
Brian Eric Cutts, of Balmoral Road, died after suffering multi- organ failure on 31st May at Doncaster Hospital.
His daughter Elizabeth Hendricks told the inquest at Doncaster her father, an 83-year-old retired painter and decorator, was ‘very active for his age’.
“He was in good health and liked playing bowls and gardening. There was an obvious decline in his health as he got older, but for a man of his age he was reasonably active,” she said.
The inquest heard Mr Cutts was referred to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on 16th April for a colonoscopy by his GP. Mrs Hendricks went with her father to his next appointment on 10th May when they met with George Jacob, consultant surgeon.
“It was a very brief meeting. At no point did he sit down and talk us through the surgical options. I found the consultation quite abrupt and we were then ushered into another room with a clinical nurse specialist,” said Mrs Hendricks.
“At no point were risks gone into. I felt that we didn’t really have a decent consultation and they didn’t give dad the information to take away.”
The inquest heard Mr Cutts decided then to have the operation.
Mr Jacob said: “At the consultation on 10th May I told Mr Cutts the diagnosis was cancer of the bowel and that an operation would be appropriate.”
“He was then taken away by the clinical nurse specialist who goes into more detail which I don’t have time to give.”
Mr Cutts went in for his operation on 22nd May.
“His gall bladder was distended and contained gall stones. There was no injury to the gall bladder during the procedure and no need to remove it just because of the stones,” said Mr Jacob.
“The cancer was removed and the bowel rejoined. The rejoining was straightforward and uncomplicated. There was no suggestion the gall bladder was perforated at that stage -it would have been obvious.”
Mr Cutts was admitted to the critical care unit for two days before going onto a general ward. He was later prescribed antibiotics for a suspected chest infection.
Mr Jacob said when he saw Mr Cutts on 28th May there were no signs to suggest any complications following surgery and he began to consider discharging him.
But on the morning of 29th May Mr Cutts complained of ‘not feeling right’, had abdominal pain and was vomiting.
“Although he was feeling unwell his early warning score was not raising concern. The plan was for a CT scan to see if there was a problem in the abdomen,” he said.
On the morning of 30th May Mr Cutts had deteriorated further and doctors decided to operate again.
During surgery fluid was found in the abdominal cavity. His gall bladder was ‘grossly distended’ but the anastomosis - the join between the two pieces of bowel - was ‘healthy and intact’.
Mr Jacob said: “The gall bladder was stuck to an area of the anastomosis and a perforation in the gall bladder became evident on separating.”
He told the inquest the leakage was from the gall bladder and not the repaired bowel. Despite the second operation Mr Cutts didn’t recover and he died the next day.
Assistant Deputy Coroner Mark Beresford returned a narrative verdict. He said: “Mr Cutts died on 31st May as a result of post operative complications of a hemicolectomy.”
Speaking after the inquest Mrs Hendricks added: “He was a loving husband to Rosemary of 36 years, a brother, father and grandfather, who will be missed.”
A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We offer our deepest sympathies to Mr Cutts’ family for their loss.”
“We would like to clarify that Mr Cutts had a full appointment with Mr Jacob of the same length as any other patient and the potential risks were discussed when seeking his consent for surgery. It is also standard practice to see the nurse specialist immediately after the consultant and the general feedback is that patients really value this opportunity to receive further information and support and discuss any queries or concerns.”
“However, we are always seeking ways to continuously improve the services we provide and, although Mr Cutts’ family have not contacted us with any concerns, we would be happy to meet with them to hear their views and suggestions and see where any lessons could be learned.”