A GRANDFATHER died from blood poisoning after undergoing an operation for bowel cancer.
An inquest into the death of 79-year-old James Aisthorpe was held at Huddersfield yesterday.
It was the second hearing in 24 hours about a death following an operation by the same surgeon, Abdul Basheer.
Mr Aisthorpe, from Hemsworth, near Wakefield, died at Dewsbury District Hospital in the early hours of August 21, 2007, six days after Mr Basheer operated to remove a cancerous tumour from his bowel.
A post-mortem report revealed that Mr Aisthorpe died of blood poisoning caused by part of his bowel dying off.
Mr Aisthorpe, a retired bank manager, was operated on by Abdul Basheer at the Bupa hospital in Elland on August 15. Two days later, his temperature rose and he was put on very strong antibiotics as a precaution against sepsis – a blood infection.
Expert witness Peter Sagar, a consultant colorectal surgeon at Leeds General Infirmary, said medical notes showed signs of blood poisoning at that point and a CT scan could have been ordered, which may have revealed the problem in Mr Aisthorpe’s bowel.
“That may have influenced events. It may have been that this was going to happen anyway. It is very easy with hindsight to make judgement.”
The next day, August 18, married father-of-two Mr Aisthorpe collapsed and was vomiting. A chest X-ray showed patches on his lungs and doctors thought he may have pneumonia.
He was transferred to Calderdale Royal Hospital’s intensive care unit that day.
Assistant deputy coroner Paul Marks said he was concerned about the move to a hospital where there were no facilities for further surgery if needed.
However, he accepted that even if Mr Aisthorpe had been taken straight to Dewsbury District Hospital where Mr Basheer was based, surgery may not have taken place earlier. He said: “This probably made no material difference to the outcome.”
Mr Basheer told the inquest he would have preferred his patient to be at Dewsbury, but Calderdale Royal Hospital had the nearest free beds and, at the time, the condition was thought to be pneumonia rather than a surgical problem.
He said: “What’s available at the time is what I was going by. We do this all the time due to lack of facilities.”
The coroner said the evidence showed Mr Aisthorpe’s deterioration was more likely to have been caused by the bowel problem than the pneumonia.
Dr David Lloyd, consultant anaesthetist at Calderdale Royal Hospital, said Mr Aisthorpe’s symptoms did fit with a diagnosis of pneumonia – but as his condition worsened at Halifax it became easier to spot the blood poisoning.
“As time went on, it was easier to see that it (pneumonia) was less likely. It is very easy to look back in light of what happened.”
Recording a verdict of misadventure, the coroner said: “I have been unable to find to the necessary standard of proof that earlier surgery would have altered the tragic outcome.”
Martin Wale, medical director for The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have robust systems in place to ensure that our patients receive high quality clinical care. We routinely monitor the practice of all our surgeons, including Mr Basheer, using a range of measures. His results for these difficult operations are not significantly different to those of colleagues carrying out similar surgery across the country.
“Mr Basheer is a skilled, experienced, and dedicated surgeon who operates with good clinical outcomes, and we have every confidence in the care he provides for patients.”