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Mistakes during surgery revealed by whistleblower ‘contributed’ to death of 57-year-old

PUBLISHED: 15:21 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:58 09 September 2020

Susan Warby died at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, following complications with her treatment Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Susan Warby died at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, following complications with her treatment Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The husband of a Bury St Edmunds woman who died following complications with her hospital treatment has spoken out following the conclusion of an inquest into her death.

Susan Warby died at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, on August 30, 2018, 35 days after being admitted with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

She went through two rounds of bowel surgery which aimed to alleviate her symptoms. However, following complications relating to her care, she passed away just over a month later.

Following her death, her husband Jon Warby, a retired police officer, received an anonymous letter from a whistleblower “suggesting something had gone wrong during the surgery”.

He asked for private investigation by Suffolk police and the hospital, both of which confirmed the issues.

An inquest, which took place at Suffolk Coroners Court on September 7, concluded that mistakes made during the first round of surgery “contributed” to her death.

Mr Warby said: “The past two years have been incredibly difficult since losing Sue, and it is still a real struggle to come to terms with her no longer being here.

“The inquest has been a highly distressing time for our family, having to relive how Sue died, but we are grateful that it is over and we now have some answers as to what happened.

“After learning of the errors in Sue’s care, I wanted to know how these occurred and what action was being taken to prevent any similar incidents in the future.”

The inquest heard how Mrs Warby was rushed to hospital after collapsing at home on July 26, 2018.

The 57-year-old underwent emergency surgery during which she was given the incorrect intravenous fluid, which remained attached for 36 hours before being changed.

As a result, blood tests gave incorrect results and the wrong medication was given over a two-day period which led to Mrs Warby developing a brain injury of “uncertain severity”.

Senior coroner Nigel Parsley said the medical cause of death was multi-organ failure and recorded a narrative conclusion which said that the unnecessary insulin treatment “contributed” to her death along with a naturally occurring illness.

After the inquest, Amie Minns, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mrs Warby’s family, said: “Since Susan’s death, her loved ones have understandably found it difficult to cope with how she was taken from them in such a tragic way.

“While the family continue to attempt to come to terms with their loss, we are pleased that we have been able to secure answers that Susan’s family have been seeking for the last two years.

“The inquest identified worrying issues in the care Susan received prior to her death, and it is clear that the Trust has made a number of significant changes to improve patient safety, which we welcome.

“We wouldn’t want any other family to endure the heartbreak and pain that Jon and his family have.

“We will continue to support the family at this distressing time.”


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