A HOSPITAL was not to blame for the death of a Halesowen grandfather after routine knee surgery, an inquest has ruled.
Birmingham Coroner Aidan Cotter said whilst there were failures in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital’s care of 62-year-old Robert Collett, none played a part in his death.
But he criticised medical staff for their “disgraceful and incompetent” record-keeping of Mr Collett’s care and said he would be raising the matter with all hospitals in Birmingham.
The four-day inquest heard how Mr Collett died of heart failure seven hours after he had undergone a knee replacement.
The hearing was told how he had suffered osteo-arthritis for years and had undergone previous knee surgery but was in so much pain doctors said a complete replacement of his left knee was the only option.
He went into the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital,where his wife Angela works as a nurse, in February 2011 .
He was warned that, because he had undergone previous surgery, this latest operation carried a risk.
Mr Cotter said Mr Collett declined a general anaesthetic and instead opted for a spinal epidural and was complaining of chest pain, nausea and dizziness to nursing staff in the pre-op room.
But when the surgeon asked him about the chest pain, he did not mention it and, after being given more drugs, said the nausea and dizziness had gone.
During surgery Mr Collett also told staff he had difficulty breathing and was found to be suffering from fluid on the lungs, but the surgeon deemed it safe to carry on with the procedure.
The inquest heard that when Mr Collett, who had three children and two grandchildren, came out of surgery he suffered a cardiac arrest and was resuscitated.
Because the Royal Orthopaedic did not have any intensive care facilities, he was transferred to City Hospital where he suffered further heart attacks and died later that day.
A post mortem examination found no evidence of heart disease and ruled the cause of death as heart failure.
It added that contributing factors were the stress of surgery on his body, anxiety over the operation, the fluid on the lungs and also his age.
Mr Cotter gave a narrative verdict that Mr Collett had died following elective surgery at the hospital.
He said whilst there were some aspects of the hospital’s procedures that were less than satisfactory, such as record-keeping of Mr Collett’s notes being a “disgrace”, none of them played a part in the death.
Laura Ralfe, from Irwin Mitchell lawyers who are acting on behalf of Mr Collett’s family, added: “Mrs Collett has shown extreme dignity and bravery throughout the inquest which has been both shocking and harrowing for her.
"She still has unanswered questions and the trust must now provide answers about what happened to robert so she can finally come to terms with his death.”