Complication during surgical procedure lead to nurse's death, inquest hears

A 47 year old woman who underwent open heart surgery suffered a fatal hemorrhage as doctors operated on her, an inquest has heard. 

Anne Fox, a nurse from Hawthorn, Summerhill, Nenagh, Co Tipperary died at the Mater Hospital on February 28 2015.

The elected surgery to enlarge a small aorta in order to improve her quality of life was deemed high-risk, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

Mr Hossein Javadpour, Consutlant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Mater Hospital explained that the woman, described by family members as petite, was having surgery for a congenital heart condition.

Ms Fox was undergoing an aortic valve replacement because she was at risk of sudden death due to heart failure.

“We felt not having the operation was a higher risk. She had a 20% risk of sudden death,” Mr Javadpour said.

The surgeon had to first enlarge the aorta in order to insert a prosthetic valve to allow for a greater flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

During surgery, the woman’s heart began to bleed and Mr Javadpour was unable to identify the exact source.

“When you stop the heart you don’t necessarily see where the blood is coming from unless there is a big tear,” he said. He found a tear and repaired it but was concerned that Ms Fox had lost too much blood at this point.

The woman was stabilised and placed in intensive care but died the following day, February 28 2015.

The cause of death was cardiogenic and hypovolemic shock due to a hemorrhage due to the surgical repair of a small aortic route and valve replacement.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of death due to a complication of a surgical procedure.

Family members paid tribute to the woman whom they said was a wonderful nurse.


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