81-year-old woman dies two days after hospital release
A PENSIONER died two days after she was sent home from hospital by a doctor, an inquest has heard.
Mary Murphy, 81, was admitted to Royal Derby Hospital with abdominal pain and vomiting.
Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court heard that Mrs Murphy, of Gatcombe Close, Oakwood, visited the hospital on April 5 last year.
She was seen by Dr Mohit Sharma who examined her and found she was dehydrated, had swollen legs and difficulty passing urine.
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Dr Sharma said: “I came to the conclusion that Mrs Murphy was suffering from numerous little problems rather than one major problem.
“I felt she looked well enough to be discharged, given that her daughter would be caring for her at home.”
But on April 7, Mrs Murphy was rushed back to hospital by ambulance, suffering with severe vomiting.
She was transferred to the surgical assessment unit where a nurse questioned her for about 25 minutes and concluded that a doctor should observe her.
But as he made his way to the ward, Mrs Murphy suffered a cardiac arrest. She was transferred to intensive care but had a further two arrests and died that night.
Consultant pathologist David Semeraro gave Mrs Murphy’s cause of death as aspiration pneumonia, caused by bowel obstruction, stemming from a femoral hernia.
Dr Sharma told the court he had not examined Mrs Murphy for the hernia.
Suzanne Hewitt, consultant in emergency medicine at the hospital, said femoral hernias were difficult to spot and misdiagnosis was “not unusual”.
Deputy Coroner Louise Pinder gave a verdict that Mrs Murphy had died of natural causes.
She said: “I have heard evidence that femoral hernias are notoriously difficult to spot.
“I am not critical of Dr Sharma but I am reassured that consideration is now being given to femoral hernias as a cause of symptoms in older ladies.”