Inquest hears there were ‘missed opportunities’ to save doctor’s life

Dr Richard Sanderson
Dr Richard Sanderson
Winners and highly-commended staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital's Best People Awards 2017     Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

QA Hospital A&E worker saved colleague’s life

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A CORONER has recorded a narrative verdict in the death of doctor Richard Sanderson.

He died weeks after a hernia operation on March 21, 2011, at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham aged 63.

GP Dr Sanderson was taken in hours after having the operation on March 4 last year at the Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC), at the former St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton.

The inquest at the Guildhall in Portsmouth heard that what followed afterwards were several missed opportunities that, if acted upon, could have saved his life.

He was fitted with a mesh to treat two hernias and was discharged.

But within hours the doctor, who had practised at the Drayton Surgery, started vomiting.

His widow Jennifer Sanderson spoke at the inquest.

She said: ‘At home he did not feel well and was walking about because he could not get comfortable anywhere.’

The inquest heard that following the procedure at the ISTC, Dr Sanderson was readmitted to QA because of an episode of vomiting.

Assessments done by Colonel David Vassallo did not find any problems and Dr Sanderson was discharged.

But he was readmitted to hospital on March 17 due to further pain and vomiting.

During his stay he was visited by on call consultant Graham Sutton.

Mr Sutton said that Dr Sanderson’s test results came back normal, but he wanted a specialist surgeon to check him.

This message was not passed on and as a result Dr Sanderson was discharged from hospital.

He was then brought in a third time to A&E on March 20 after he went into shock and was in crippling pain.

He was taken into theatre where surgeons found parts of his small bowel had become stuck to the mesh treating the hernia and holes had formed in the lining.

Despite efforts from surgeons, Dr Sanderson died.

His death prompted a review by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which has now put in a raft of new guidelines to give better continuity of care.

Pathologist Barbara Borek said: ‘An internal examination found the surgery had been satisfactory.

‘My investigation to the cause of death is multi-organ failure.’