A PENSIONER died from a blood clot in her leg only days after she was given the all-clear and released from hospital, an inquest heard.
Eighty-year-old widow Joan Farrell, of Netherton, was admitted to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on July 20, 2007 after her GP became concerned about swelling to her left calf following a hip replacement operation a few days earlier.
She was examined by a junior doctor and treated with the anti-clot drug Clexane and sent home the next day, returning for an ultra-sound scan a few days later on July 24.
Although Mrs Farrell’s leg was severely swollen, the scan revealed no clot and she was taken off the medication and discharged.
But on August 2 she was found collapsed at her home. She was taken to HRI, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
A pathology report revealed Mrs Farrell, a retired nursery nurse, had died from a blood clot on the lung, but originating from a deep vein in her left calf.
Dr Gudrun Seabass, a geriatric specialist at HRI, who saw Mrs Farrell on her morning rounds on July 21, told the inquest she was fairly sure Mrs Farrell had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but she had not been the one that discharged her.
Her results had been received by a Dr Mahalder, who no longer worked at HRI.
A statement from Dr Mahalder, now working in Bournemouth, said she was horrified to learn of Mrs Farrell’s death several months later, but said the results of the scan had been difficult to assess and the correct protocol had been followed at the time.
Dr Seabass added that guidelines drawn up by the Royal College of Haemotology also said it was perfectly acceptable to do nothing in the case of an inconclusive scan, but admitted that Mrs Farrell’s death had become somewhat of a test case and the hospital now played it safe and kept patients with suspected DVT on Clexane and required them to return for a second scan a week later.
Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, Huddersfield coroner Mr Roger Whittaker said it was clear that all the doctors had acted appropriately and the treatment of DVT wasn’t an exact science.