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Inquest hears how woman died as a “direct result” of gastric band operation at the Whittington Hospital

12:00 22 May 2014

Miroslawa Fabinska

Miroslawa Fabinska

Archant

A carer who had a gastric ­by-pass operation at the Whittington Hospital died as a “direct result” of her surgery, an inquest has found.

Miroslawa Fabinska, 35, contracted blood poisoning caused by a hernia which was not treated by medical staff in time.

Polish-born Miss Fabinska underwent surgery on September 11 last year but was readmitted to the Archway hospital’s A&E department on September 17 with symptoms of an infection to the stomach.

A scan taken a day later ­revealed there was an obstruction related to the surgery.

Despite senior doctors ­ordering a tube to be inserted to clear the obstruction, it was not carried out, leading to two perforations which caused her death.

A post-mortem examination found that Miss Fabinska died of multiple organ dysfunction caused by sepsis and anastomotic leakage following gastric by-pass surgery.

Miss Fabinska, known as “Mirka” to friends, moved to London in 1999 and worked for SweetTree Home Care Services. She lived in The Old Orchard, Hampstead until moving to Walthamstow more recently.

Her friend, Marina Ljuba, who attended the inquest, said: “The family feel that her death was a tragedy and something that shouldn’t have happened.”

It is the second time a patient has died at the Whittington Hospital following weight loss surgery. Jane White, a 39-year-old mother-of-three, died of “multiple organ dysfunction due to complications” in 2012 after undergoing a gastric by-pass.

The surgeon has been temporarily banned from performing the procedure and is the subject of a General Medical Council (GMC) probe.

Giving evidence at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Monday, consultant laparoscopic surgeon Mr Hasan Mukhtar said Miss Fabinska’s death was “avoidable”.

Since the incident, the Whittington Hospital has introduced strict new guidelines for all gastric by-pass patients who are readmitted after surgery. Scans are to be automatically carried out straight away and staff are required to contact the consultant surgeon immediately if there are any problems.

Mr Mukhtar said: “The death of this low-risk bariatric patient was avoidable.”

He added: “This was an elective operation and she was fully assessed and fit to have surgery. A number of complications can occur but if certain actions were taken there is the possibility the outcome for that patient may have been different.”

He said that the fitting of the tube was “pivotal” for Miss Fabrinska but instructions were not carried out ­appropriately.

Senior house officer at the time, Dr Konstantinos Barmpagiannis, said he was made aware that attempts by nurses had been made to insert the tube when he came on duty that night, but he did not try again to do it himself.

Miss Fabinska’s condition rapidly declined and she underwent further surgery which revealed the perforations.

Assistant coroner Gail Elliman recorded a narrative verdict saying Miss Fabinska’s death was “a direct, ­although unintended consequence of the surgery”.

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