A HOSPITAL has ordered a review of post surgery care for reconstructive patients after a Shepley woman died from complications.
Nicola Susan Balmforth, 48, died nearly two weeks after undergoing reconstructive breast surgery at St James’ University Hospital, Leeds.
A post mortem carried out at HRI recorded cause of death as pulmonary embolism (PE) – a blot clot on the lung.
Coroner Peter Straker sitting at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court yesterday heard how Mrs Balmforth, who underwent surgery on August 20, fainted at her Abbey Road home on September 3 and when she came round phoned her doctors.
A triage nurse visited and arranged for Shepley GP Dr Duncan Shaw to see her the following day.
Dr Shaw diagnosed Mrs Balmforth as anaemic and ordered blood tests.
He recalled from his notes she reported leg cramps and was a little short of breath but her blood pressure was normal and her chest was clear.
The coroner asked Dr Shaw if he considered any other diagnosis, such as deep vein thrombosis.
Dr Shaw told the court: “She was recovering from quite major surgery and a chest infection. She did not appear unwell. I was not suspicious. I am sorry.”
Professor Simon Kay, reconstructive surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospital told the court there was a risk of a number of factors post operatively including thrombosis and deep vein thrombosis.
The court heard Mrs Balmforth had previously undergone a mastectomy in 2010 and on August 20 she underwent reconstructive surgery to restore her breast.
Prof Kay said his patient Nicola was in a ‘high risk’ category as a post operative patient due to the length of the operation and previous malignancy.
He said reconstructive surgeons in practice used two guidelines, those of government body NICE, and Leeds Teaching Hospital’s own guidelines.
Prof Kay said ‘the deeply distressing case’ had resulted in a comprehensive review at Leeds Teaching Hospital of post operative care for reconstructive surgery patients.
The coroner recorded a narrative verdict saying: “Nicola Susan Balmforth died as a result of recognised complications of a necessary surgical procedure.”
He expressed the courts sympathy to Mrs Balmforth’s husband, who was present in court for the verdict.