Doctors defend decisions after woman’s death

A WOMAN admitted to hospital with a flesh-eating bug died four months later after a ‘one to two per cent’ complication following surgery to remove gallstones, an inquest heard.

Sally Kemp, 56, of Beechings, Henfield, died in Worthing Hospital on July 17 following numerous operations and extensive treatment.

Despite successful surgery to remove tissue affected by necrotising fasciitis, Mrs Kemp had a slow recovery, having to later undergo surgery to remove gallstones.

At an inquest into her death at Centenery House, Durrington, on Tuesday, her family grilled doctors on whether they had failed to make proper repairs to the site of the operation, while removing the stones.

Mrs Kemp’s husband Michael said: “The main question was why wasn’t her wound sewn up? Surely it should have been.

“I feel if it was she would have been here today.”

Consultant physician Dr Zinu Philipose removed the stones on July 2, with ‘no sign of bleeding’ at the time.

It was only around ten days later that signs of internal bleeding were recognised – this bleeding which eventually caused her death.

Mr Philipose said the surgery had been successful and the surgery had been performed correctly and as per routine, in order to prevent further blockages to the bile duct and pancreas.

He said: “Sally’s care was a complex case and very difficult and I am not sure we could identify any aspect we should do differently.

“It was the first case of a significant bleed I had seen since I joined the hospital.

“It is a complication of one to two per cent in the literature.”

Diagnosing the gallstones had proved time consuming and difficult for doctors, as an ultrasound scan and three CT scans failed to spot the problem.

Her symptoms were also common in patients suffering from similar infections, while an MRI scan was unsuitable for Mrs Kemp due to her weight.

A liver biopsy sent to experts at King’s College Hospital eventually hinted at the true cause of issue, with an endoscopic ultrasound confirming the diagnosis on June 27.

After the surgery, Mrs Kemp’s condition slowly deteriorated and another endoscopy was performed to stop the bleeding.

Sadly, the physical toll of further surgery proved too much.

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Penelope Schofield said: “We have heard she did her best to fight through this series of occurrences. But at the end of the day, enough was enough.”