Woman died after ovary removed instead of appendix

A pregnant woman with appendicitis died after trainee surgeons removed an ovary by mistake, an inquest has heard.

Maria De Jesus, 32, underwent the botched operation at Queen's Hospital, east London after complaining of abdominal pain. She died 19 days later.

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Chinyere Inyama said a lost "window of opportunity" could have saved her.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust said it fully accepted the verdict.

'Deeply affected'

The report, from Walthamstow Coroner's Court, said the diagnosis and operation were carried out in the absence of a consultant surgeon.

Mrs De Jesus was admitted to hospital in October 2011 with abdominal pain.

She was discharged 10 days later, even though a lab report had shown it was not an appendix which was removed.

On 7 November, Mrs De Jesus was still in pain and went back to the Romford hospital.

She later miscarried and died following a second operation to remove her appendix.

The coroner said the "absence of protocols" for reporting unexpected lab findings "resulted in the loss of a window of opportunity to provide treatment that could have affected the outcome".

Averil Dongworth, chief executive of the NHS trust said she wanted to apologise unreservedly to Mrs De Jesus's family.

She said: "We have admitted liability in this case. The staff involved in Mrs De Jesus' care have been deeply affected by her death."

She said there had been "wide-ranging work" to improve patient safety in light of the case.

The General Medical Council said it would not confirm whether it was investigating the staff involved because of patient confidentiality.

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