“Heroic” Whittington doctors tried to save “lovely” pensioner in vain

Hospital bosses are considering the sell off of a third of the Whittington Hospital site as part of

Hospital bosses are considering the sell off of a third of the Whittington Hospital site as part of the application for Foundation Trust status. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Whittington Hospital doctors “heroically” tried to save the life of a “lovely” pensioner in vain, a court heard.

Beryl Seal, 69, of Cardozo Road, Holloway, died in her hospital bed on February 25 after suffering an infection following an operation for a bowel hernia.

She had signed a consent form after being told the operation was “high risk”, but her only chance of survival.

Against the odds, the pensioner showed signs of a remarkable recovery, having been discharged onto a lower-priority ward three days after the operation.

But her family’s hopes were dashed as she died from multiple organ failure two weeks after going under the knife, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard.

Coroner Selina Lynch ruled the pensioner died of natural causes due to a history of ill-health while praising doctors for their attempts to save her.

She said: “We must remember what great efforts were made to try to save her life.

Most Read

“It’s really amazing what they can do for people now. Modern medicine has offered great advances and hope.

“Lives can be saved, but the odds were stacked against her (Mrs Seal) and these heroic efforts on this occasion came to nothing.

“I think this death in reality was natural because all the medical treatment possible was done to save her, but it was the original hernia which was the natural cause.”

Speaking to the family she added: “The downside is her initial recovery meant you had your hopes raised.”

Son Anthony and grand daughter Suzann thanked surgeon Jonathan Wilson following the emotional hearing, in which he paid tribute to the pensioner and her family.

Mr Wilson told the court: “The hernia was massive, half the abdominal bowel, and it had been operated on on several occasions, but sadly it reoccurred. Without surgery it would have been fatal. Surgery would be her only chance of survival.

“Mrs Seal was clearly a lovely, intelligent woman and had a very supportive family. Everyone appreciated surgery was the only chance of survival in a very high risk operation.”

However, due to previous operations, including being admitted on a separate occasion in November last year, Mrs Seal’s heart was not strong enough to deal with the septic complications which developed following the operation, Mr Wilson said. She had a history of hypertension and asthma.

Coroner Lynch recorded a verdict of death from natural causes.