Earlier diagnosis could have saved Kirsty’s life

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A GRIEVING dad today urged patients to question doctors rigorously – after his daughter died in hospital days after surgery which a coroner has ruled she could have survived.

Kirsty Woods would ‘very likely’ have lived if her peritonitis had been diagnosed earlier by hospital doctors, a Sheffield inquest heard.

Coroner David Urpeth also said the concerns of both Kirsty and her worried family, after her operation, were not taken ‘sufficiently seriously’.

“Concerns were expressed on a number of occasions by Ms Woods and her family but these were not taken sufficiently seriously or acted upon appropriately,” said Mr Urpeth, recording a narrative verdict.

“If the peritonitis had been diagnosed earlier, Ms Woods would have been able to undergo further surgery and would very likely have survived.”

Kirsty, just 30, from Penistone, died 12 days after undergoing bowel surgery called a colectomy at Barnsley Hospital.

A post mortem examination found her bowel contents later leaked due to a breakdown of a surgical joining.

Her father Bernard Woods told the inquest his concerns about Kirsty’s lack of progress were brushed aside, that she was ‘bullied’ by staff to help herself, and her care ‘was a disgrace’.

Speaking afterwards Bernard, 61, of Penistone, said he was ‘satisfied’.

“The message I want to send is to tell people to question, and question, and make the doctors listen.

“We wouldn’t want other people to go through this, it’s been absolutely dreadful.”

The inquest, which was also attended by Kirsty’s sister Kelly and brother Peter, heard it was thought Kirsty had a common post-operative condition.

Mr Urpeth said ‘insufficient thought’ was given to an alternative reason for her remaining unwell.

Tests did not find any signs of a perforation or peritonitis and medical staff said they believed everything possible had been done.

But on September 21, 2010, youth worker Kirsty went into cardiac arrest and died. The cause of death was peritonitis, bowel breakdown and ulcerative colitis.

Dr Jugnu Mahajan, the hospital’s medical director, said findings would be considered to minimise chances of such a ‘tragic event’ happening again.