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Inquest into Bury St Edmunds woman Susan Warby who died following a bowel operation at West Suffolk Hospital adjourned while expert witness is consulted

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An inquest into the death of a Bury St Edmunds woman who died weeks after having a bowel operation has been adjourned after her husband said 'questions still remain' around what happened.

Susan Warby, known as Sue, died on August 30, 2018 - five weeks after undergoing two emergency surgeries for a perforated bowel.

Yesterday, an inquest heard that Mrs Warby's husband Jon had later received an anonymous letter detailing errors in his wife's treatment.

West Suffolk Hospital (26970133)
West Suffolk Hospital (26970133)

Today, following a submission from Mr Warby's legal representative Conor Dufficy, senior coroner Nigel Parsley agreed to adjourn the inquest and consult an expert witness.

Mr Parsley said the family's request was 'not unreasonable' and agreed that a consultant anaesthesiologist who was not connected to West Suffolk Hospital would be asked to conduct 'a review of medical records, reports and witness statements'.

He added that this process would take between two and three months.

This comes after Mr Warby said there were still unanswered questions surrounding his wife's death.

"When Sue died we were left wanting answers," he said.

"I wanted to know how and why these incidents had happened and wanted to know what action would be taken to prevent any similar incidents from ever happening again.

"During the last two days it has been incredibly difficult to re-live everything that happened to Sue.

"This process has, however, brought to light important information about how the errors in Sue's care occurred.

"Sadly, questions still remain about whether Sue could have survived if these errors had not been made and I will continue to seek answers in relation to this."

Mrs Warby, 57, was admitted to West Suffolk Hospital on July 26, 2018, after her husband found her collapsed in an upstairs bedroom of their home. She had been complaining of sickness, diarrhoea and abdominal pains two weeks prior to the fall.

But the inquest heard yesterday that Mrs Warby had suffered a punctured lung during a procedure to fit a central line catheter - a procedure which her husband had been told was difficult 'even for an experienced consultant'.

Following the operations, Mr Warby had also been informed by a consultant that his wife had wrongly been given glucose instead of saline.

"I asked what the effect of this could be and the consultant told me brain damage or death," he said.

Mrs Warby stayed in the hospital for 35 days, over which time her condition worsened and she was eventually placed in an induced coma.

"I was informed that she was suffering and that she would never come off the ventilator and that the best course of action was to discontinue treatment," said Mr Warby.

He added that, along with Susan's two sons Brendan and Samuel, he had remained by her bedside holding her hand until she died.

Dr Michael Palmer, consultant anaesthetist, told the inquest that despite a 'brief' improvement in Mrs Warby's condition, it was a case of 'one step forward and two steps back'.

He added that, despite Mrs Warby being given the wrong saline solution, there were no signs of brain damage.

Dr Amitabh Mishra, a consultant surgeon at the hospital who operated on Mrs Warby, said the procedure had a 50 per cent survival rate.

He added that, due to the period of time Mrs Warby had felt ill and the fact she had undergone surgeries earlier in life, she was assessed as having an 84.8 per cent risk of death.

Paul Morris, deputy chief nurse, also told the inquest that the hospital had introduced new fluid bags with clearer labelling as well as more checks at patients' bedsides.

Mr Warby described his wife as 'a strong spirited woman who had great inner strength' and who 'devoted her life' to her two sons.

"This has been a highly distressing time for all of our family and we have been left devastated by Sue's death," he said.

He added: "Nobody should have to go through what we have all been through."