'Number of factors' led to Suffolk mum's death after surgery

Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

The joy and energy of a Suffolk mum "will never be forgotten" after an inquest heard she died as a result of complications following gastric bypass surgery in Cyprus.

Victoria Harrild-Jones died just over a week after having surgery in December 2019 in Cyprus, Suffolk Coroner's Court heard on Monday.

The 41-year-old was living on the RAF Akrotiri base with her husband and daughter and developed a pulmonary embolism.

Her mother Sandra told the coroner's court her daughter was always "absolutely bursting with life" and that "she needed all that energy and more for the last 20 years".

The inquest heard Mrs Harrild-Jones had loved animals from a young age, particularly horses.

In Cyprus she ran a business called Ironpaws Canine Services which helped to train dogs.

She had dreams of becoming a vet but was unable to complete her degree when she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both her hips, eventually having to have both replaced.

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Her family admired the efforts she made to overcome her difficulties, even when she was told to never get on a horse again.

Though due to her arthritis she needed a gastric band, which she had in 2006, but it was then removed in early 2019 when it slipped.

After it was removed she began to gain weight, which gave her anxiety and made her depressed, the inquest heard.

Mrs Harrild-Jones decided to have a gastric bypass privately in Cyprus from the same doctor who removed the band.

Her mum told the inquest her daughter was always "unfailingly cheerful and motivated," but when she saw her two months before she died, the light had gone out of her eyes. 

The 41-year-old had been struggling but looked hopeful 10 days before the surgery and was looking forward to going back home. 

The memory of her last few months of life is still a painful one for her mother, who told the court: "the joy and energy she brought to our lives will never be forgotten."

The surgery took place on December 19 with Mrs Harrild-Jones discharged on the 21st, A day later she had severe abdominal pain and had to call an ambulance.

A paramedic visited and helped increase her pain medication, which may have masked the seriousness of her symptoms days later the inquest heard.

Early in the morning on December 27 her husband Steven, who was staying in the same room to look after her, found his wife convulsing and then began CPR.

Despite the help of paramedics, she was pronounced dead at 7am.

Her husband said that the day before had been "just another normal day" and that his wife had been looking forward to having her stitches out.

Coroner Nigel Parsley said Mrs Harrild-Jones died as a result of right pulmonary artery embolism due to deep vein thrombosis.

He added the gastric bypass surgery, peritonitis (inflammation of the tissue that lines the belly or abdomen), the double hip replacement and immobility were significant contributing factors.

Mr Parsley said Mrs Harrild-Jones was not receiving any preventative anti coagulant medication at the time of her death, which she would receive in the UK under medical guidelines.

As she was treated in Cyprus, the medication was stopped when she left hospital.

The senior coroner said it was not possible to say the medication would have definitely prevented a blood clot from forming, but it may have assisted.

He added there were "A number of factors, not one you can specifically put your finger on."

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