Woman, 42, died after Barnsley Hospital neglect

A VERDICT of neglect has been reached at an inquest into the death of a 42-year-old woman at a Yorkshire hospital.

Andrea Green died during a routine operation

Andrea Green bled to death just 14 hours after undergoing routine surgery for back pain at Barnsley District Hospital in March 2010.

The inquest in Sheffield was told consultant surgeon Hany Ismaiel accidentally cut an artery during the operation and it was not picked up until afterwards.

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Her death came just weeks after consultants in the orthopaedic department at the hospital warned management of “grave risks” to patient safety because of staffing levels.

The issue sparked a feud between management and the consultants, leading to an email to Mr Ismaiel six months after Miss Green’s death which described orthopaedic surgeons at the hospital as a “cancer in the system” by their boss.

The inquest was halted last year by the Sheffield coroner who asked police to investigate following the emergence of the rift. A file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service which considered evidence of corporate manslaughter but it was ruled there was insufficient evidence.

The inquest resumed earlier this month, hearing evidence that Miss Green died from internal bleeding and that the surgeon operated on the wrong disc in her back. The verdict, which took four hours to deliver, gave details of a series of failings to provide basic medical care.

Andrew Harrison, head of medical negligence at Raleys Solicitors, who represented her family, said it was expected the General Medical Council would look into the case.

“We hope this verdict will bring some closure for Andrea’s family,” he said.

“It was extremely difficult for the Green family to hear the number of failures which led to Andrea’s death but hopefully important lessons have been learned to ensure no-one else has to go through an ordeal like this.

“Andrea’s family are not entirely satisfied that a verdict of neglect properly reflects the severity of this case, but understand the restrictions of the verdicts available to Her Majesty’s Coroner and are satisfied that the evidence has been thoroughly examined.”

The family have already lodged a claim for medical negligence which has been settled out of court for a six-figure sum.

Lawyers claimed serious internal bleeding after the operation should have been spotted and treated by doctors who could have saved Miss Green up to 30 minutes before her death.

At the resumed inquest, it emerged the breakdown between management and the orthopaedic surgeons had been simmering for months.

Surgeons were accused of working at a deliberately slow pace to increase their earnings, while the orthopaedic team complained of working under such pressure that patient safety was being placed at risk.

Miss Green, an administrator, of Carlton, Barnsley, began suffering back pain in October 2009. By the time the operation was due she was much better, but was told by doctors that if she did not have surgery the pain could return.

Mr Ismaiel was supposed to scrape away the protruding portion of a prolapsed disc but got the wrong disc, piercing through it and rupturing an artery.

Unaware of the damage caused, Miss Green was sent to recovery. Although her abdomen was inflated and she complained of stomach ache nothing was done, the inquest was told.

In a statement yesterday, Barnsley Hospital said: “We would again like to express our most sincere condolences to Andrea’s family and say how sorry we are for her death. We welcome the coroner’s findings and will consider in detail how to take forward his recommendations.”

All changes recommended in investigations into her death had been implemented and a turnaround team had been called into the surgical department to improve its effectiveness. New leadership training for senior managers had been given and spinal surgery had not taken place at the hospital since April 2010 in a wider service reconfiguration.