Inquest To Investigate Pensioner's Death Following 'Routine Surgery'

Surgery Death Inquest


An inquest is due to open at 10.00am on Monday 18th February into the death of a 72 year-old Birmingham pensioner who died from blood poisoning and multi organ failure following a prostate operation.

Birmingham Coroner, Aiden Cotter, is due to hear that Mr Arville Lloyd Douglas, a former steelworker and father of four from Aston in Birmingham, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2006

Scans confirmed that the cancer had not spread beyond the prostate and as Mr Douglas was deemed extremely fit and healthy for his age, his doctors recommended surgery rather than radiotherapy as the preferred course of treatment.

On 27th February 2007, Mr Douglas underwent a prostectomy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Initially the operation appeared to have gone well, with his family describing him as being 'in good spirits'. However, over the course of the next six days, his condition began to deteriorate.

Mr Douglas' abdomen became bloated, he was unable to eat or drink more than a few sips of water and was in so much pain that he was unable to lie flat and as a result spent two nights sleeping in a bedside chair.

His family, who visited him every day, became desperately worried by his condition and tried on numerous occasions to raise their concerns with medical and nursing staff but were told that his symptoms were the normal side effects of an operation and merely constipation.

As his condition deteriorated still further he became sleepy, disoriented, clammy and had difficulty breathing.

It was not until Sunday 4th March that medical staff suspected something was seriously wrong and that he might be suffering from septicaemia. Mr Douglas underwent an emergency operation and was transferred to ITU. He was later diagnosed with liver failure and sadly died from multi-organ failure on 6th March 2007.

Clinical negligence law firm

Nicola Forster, a solicitor with the Birmingham office of national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said: "Lloyd Douglas' family are understandably very distressed by the circumstances of his death. They firmly believe that if the medical and nursing staff had acted on their concerns sooner then Lloyd’s life could have been saved.

"They were led to believe that the prostate operation was relatively straightforward, that it had been a success and that he would make a quick recovery. Today's inquest will hopefully provide the Douglas family with much needed answers regarding the events leading up to his death.

Mr Douglas' widow, Edna commented: "Lloyd was my soul mate. He had always been such a fit and active man. Even after he had retired he was always helping family and friends with renovation work.

"He kept our own house in immaculate condition and was well known for having one of the neatest and best-kept gardens in the area. He enjoyed life to the full and was never happier than when spending time with those he loved.

"What makes our pain worse is that we simply cannot accept that it was his time to die."