Julie Connell suffered a damaged bowel during surgery to remove a cancerous kidney at Hereford County Hospital in 2013, according to medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell, who she instructed before her death to investigate her care under Wye Valley NHS Trust.
The firm said the mother of four and grandmother of three was hit by repeated infections and abscesses, as despite having drainage bags fitted, fluid continued to leak into her body, and was diagnosed with abdominal sepsis and given antibiotics.
Further surgery in 2017 did not remove the damaged section of bowel, Irwin Mitchell said.
Two perforations were found at another hospital in June 2019, but the 58-year-old’s condition continued to deteriorate and she died in August 2020 from acute respiratory distress caused by abdominal sepsis.
Irwin Mitchell said the trust admitted “missed opportunities” in 2013 and 2017, and that an investigation found that had a stoma been fitted in 2013, it was likely the following procedures would have meant she would have lived.
Mr Connell, a training advisor, said his wife was an extrovert, immensely vibrant, and the life and soul of her family before becoming unwell, and that it did not feel like doctors were getting to the root of her condition.
“It was awful seeing everything Julie had to go through in her final years,” he said.
“I fervently hope I can help raise awareness in the hope of preventing others having to go through the same.”
Solicitor Lucy Macklin said: “The independent evidence we obtained showed that if further investigations had been carried out when Julie started complaining of pain following her initial surgery, her leaking bowel would have been identified, Julie would have received appropriate treatment, and she would have made a full recovery from those complications.
“Worrying issues in the care Julie received have been admitted. It’s now vital that lessons are learned.
The family is now pursuing compensation from the trust.
A trust spokesperson said: “The trust offers its sincere sympathies to the family. However, as this is an active legal matter, we cannot comment further.”