Infection killed knee op woman from Langho

9:48am Thursday 10th April 2014

By Hannah Al-Othman

A WOMAN who died after undergoing knee replacement surgery may have survived if medical staff had intervened earlier to treat a resulting infection, an inquest heard.

Mary Agnes Goodwin, known as Agnes, died after developing abscesses following the operation in July 2013.

Mrs Goodwin, who lived in Whalley Road, Langho, was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital at the beginning of this year after suffering pain in her joint and becoming ill.

Her condition deteriorated and she died on February 26, after artificial support was withdrawn.

The inquest in Blackburn yesterday heard that had the infection been discovered sooner, the outcome could have been better.

Her son, Andrew Robert Goodwin, told the inquest: “How was it missed? Senior nursing staff said ‘it’s not like she’s ill’. I think she was caught between so many different people all wanting to treat her their own way.

“Nobody would take a decision and by the time they did, it was too late.” Pathologist Dr Stephen Mills, who carried out a post mortem examination, said Mrs Goodwin had died as a result of a thigh abscess and a perirenal abscess, affecting her kidney, due to an infected knee replacement.

His examination discovered around a litre of fluid, which would have caused significant swelling and a substantial amount of pain.

The inquest heard the normal preferred treatment for an abscess would be to prescribe antibiotics and drain the fluid.

The hearing was told this did not happen and it may have been because doctors thought it would have affected a suspected deep vein thrombosis.

Dr Mills said: “It (the abscess) would be unlikely to resolve itself or be cured without any drainage of the puss.”

Michael Singleton, coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, reached a narrative conclusion and said: “One of the potential risks is the development of an infection.

“It does however seem to me....that in fact an opportunity was lost in dealing with that at an earlier stage.”

Offering his condolences to Mrs Goodwin’s family, he said: “This might not have necessarily been the case and there may have been another, better outcome.”

A spokeswoman from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The trust can confirm that Mary Agnes Goodwin attended the Royal Blackburn Hospital between January 31 and February 26, 2014.

“It is not our policy to comment on individual cases but we would like to offer our sincere condolences to her family and friends at her passing.

“It is trust policy to review all deaths in the hospital, and once we have received the coroner’s narrative verdict, we will contact the patient’s family and invite them to speak to us about the treatment she received.”

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