25th Sep, 2018

Hospital finally admits liability in Coventry cancer mum operation blunder

Les Reid 7th Dec, 2016 Updated: 7th Dec, 2016

QUESTIONS are being raised over why University Hospital failed to admit serious errors in a cancer operation shortly before a Coventry mum-of-three died last year.

Lawyers representing the husband of 45-year-old Chapelfields mum Deborah O’Hara today (Wednesday) revealed the hospital had recently admitted liability for the error in June 2015.

It had previously failed to notify him and the coroner of the surgical error in which blood supply from two arteries was cut – which was not part of the procedure to remove a kidney and the tumour growth on it.

The truth only came to light after a tip-off to the BBC who notified husband Andy O’Hara.

The tip-off eventually triggered a coroner’s inquest at Coventry Magistrates Court – which starts today and is expected to last two days.

Mr O’Hara said: “My children and I have been waiting 18 months to find out precisely what happened to Deborah at University Hospital, Coventry.

“Now we finally have an inquest, I hope we shall hear all the facts, particularly as to how and when her arteries came to be cut and why this was not noticed until the following day.”

His lawyer Phil Barnes, clinical negligence partner at the Birmingham offices of Access Legal solicitors, who is representing him at the inquest, said: “University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) admitted liability in recent days.

“Deborah’s family remains naturally very distressed and mystified, however, and very much hopes that this Inquest will shed light on the circumstances surrounding and leading up to her death.”

Coroner Sean McGovern, without an inquest or being previously informed of the error, had initially signed a death certificate which failed to account for why a loss of bloody supply to the liver and bowel was the cause of death.

The inquest is being heard by his assistant coroner, Emma Whitting.

Mrs O’Hara was referred to the hospital’s accident and emergency department on May 29, 2015, with blood in her urine and stomach pain. A CT scan revealed a large tumour on her left kidney.

She underwent surgery on June 10, 2015 and died two days later.

Following the BBC tip-off, UHCW apologised in a letter to the family for the distress suffered.

The hospital trust also said Mrs O’Hara’s death had been reviewed in line with its governance processes and it had shared the findings of its investigation with her family, and implemented its recommendations.

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