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Medical mistakes as pregnant mother dies after having ovary removed

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 18/06/2013

A pregnant mother with appendicitis died in hospital after 2 unsupervised trainee surgeons mistakenly removed one of her ovaries.

Maria De Jesus, 32, was 5 months pregnant when she was admitted to Queen's Hospital in Romford with serious abdominal pain, which was correctly diagnosed as appendicitis.

She was discharged 8 days after an operation in which her ovary, instead of her appendix was removed. She re-admitted herself to hospital 6 days later with crippling stomach pains.

Doctors had failed to read a report confirming the trainees' mistakes for 9 days. The report was only read when Mrs De Jesus had a miscarriage following the procedure.

Eventually, her appendix was removed 19 days after the initial operation, when she died on the operating table.

Inquest into death

inquest heard into Mrs De Jesus' death heard that she had developed severe sepsis (a blood infection) as a result of the appendicitis and died from multiple organ failure.

The Coroner said "a lost window of opportunity" could have saved Mrs De Jesus, who was the victim of a series of medical mistakes.

The hearing was also told how the operation was carried out by 2 trainee surgeons without the supervision of a consultant.

Her husband said: "This is neglect, this is an unlawful killing. If my wife had been given treatment by fully qualified staff and people were informed of the mistake earlier she could still be alive."

Hospital admits medical mistakes

The hospital trust has admitted responsibility for her death and apologised to her family.

The General Medical Council is currently investigating 8 medical staff, including a senior surgical consultant over the death.

Averil Dongworth, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospital Trust, said "An extensive trust-wide action plan was drawn up following Mrs De Jesus' death in 2011 to ensure that such a tragic incident will not happen again."

"We have kept Mrs De Jesus' family fully informed about the investigation into her death and the subsequent wide-ranging work which has taken place to improve systems and patient safety."

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