Nelsons has represented Mr John Granger at an inquest before HM Coroner for Leicester City and South Leicestershire following the death of his wife, Mrs Velda Granger at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 8th September 2009 after developing a lung infection following routine surgery.
Mrs Granger, who died at the age of 68 years old, was a bilateral amputee and suffered with rheumatoid arthritis. She was admitted to LRI on 3rd September 2009 for elective surgery to place two dental implants in the front lower jaw due to difficulties she was having with dentures.
Although previous major operations – including amputations – were carried out under spinal anaesthesia due to the severity of her problems with mobility and rheumatoid arthritis, the dental implant surgery was carried out under general anaesthetic.
Following surgery, Mrs Granger’s breathing became laboured. By Monday 7th September, there was a significant deterioration in her breathing. At 1.45am on the 8th September, Mrs Granger was transferred to the Adult Intensive Care ward but sadly, her condition deteriorated and she died later that day.
At post-mortem, the Pathologist was unable to find any trauma to the larynx, bronchi and trachea. The lungs appeared fibrotic, probably as a complication of rheumatoid arthritis. Both lungs were heavy with evidence of widespread bronchopneumonia involving both the upper and lower lungs. The Pathologist’s views on cause of death are that Mrs Granger died as a result of respiratory failure secondary to bronchopneumonia and that the rheumatoid arthritis was a contributing factor in her death.
Leicester City and South Leicestershire coroner, Catherine Mason recorded a narrative verdict, stating: “Although it was known by medical professions involved with Mrs Granger before the operation that she was at increased risk of developing pulmonary complications, there was no medical evidence that this was clearly communicated to her at any time before the procedure, and therefore she was allowed to proceed without full knowledge of the risks involved.”
Speaking on behalf of Mr Granger, Matthew Olner of Leicester law firm, Nelsons, says: “This is a tragic case where a loving wife and grandmother died following elective surgery as a result of, given her medical history, avoidable and predictable complications.
“It is our client, Mr Granger’s belief that there was a failure to perform a proper and adequate anaesthetic assessment, pre-operatively or peri-operatively. He believes that had such an assessment been carried out, clinicians would and should have advised his wife that she was a high risk for general anaesthetic, and that given the procedure was elective and non-threatening, they should have counselled her against going ahead with such a procedure. If they had, he is confident that his wife would not have gone ahead with the surgery and would still be alive today.”
Present at Court to hear the Coroner give his narrative verdict today, John Granger comments: “The risks were definitely not explained. If she had been told there was a high risk of anything like that, she would never have had the operation. Somewhere along the line they had got down that she had had four previous operations with general anaesthetic, which is not true. ”
Summarising, Matthew Olner says: “We will be supporting John Granger in his on-going investigations, including whether a clinical negligence claim can be pursued.”