Grandfather died after drinking too much water after surgery

A GRANDFATHER died from drinking water when hospital staff failed to monitor his fluid levels following a routine operation, a coroner said.

James Hartley who died after complications following a hernia operation.

‘Fit and active’ James Hartley, 79, of Addingham near Ilkley, went to the private Yorkshire Clinic in Bingley, West Yorkshire, as an NHS patient after being referred by his GP for hernia surgery.

It took medical staff 14 hours to catheterise him after the routine operation but they removed the catheter straight away, allowing a fatal amount of water to build up. Around 24 hours after the operation he suffered seizures and was transferred to Bradford Royal Infirmary where he spent six days in intensive care.

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He died six days later on October 1 last year as a result of multiple organ failure caused by sepsis and a brain injury from an excessive intake of water.

Assistant Coroner Oliver Longstaff recorded a verdict of death by misadventure after the two-day hearing at Bradford.

He said: “The death of James Hartley can properly be described as a tragedy. A warm-hearted and active man he was much-loved by all generations of his family. There is no doubt in my mind that the major contributing force in Mr Hartley’s death was water intoxication brought on by an overload of fluids that went unmonitored and unnoticed.”

Jill Campbell-Ainger, matron at the Yorkshire Clinic who conducted an internal report into the failings of staff, said they had updated their policies since. She also admitted staff had missed opportunities to help Mr Hartley sooner.

Ross McWilliams, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing the family, said: “James’ family are utterly heartbroken and are left wondering why he was not given the appropriate treatment much sooner.”