A PATIENT died of multi-organ failure after having an operation at Hereford County Hospital, an inquest heard.

Pauline Smith, aged 64, from Pudleston, near Leominster, was admitted to hospital on May 22, 2020, after complaining of lower abdominal pain.


Initially, she was treated ‘conservatively’.

Dr John Christo, Hereford County Hospital consultant surgeon said that a scan on May 29 showed a "significant change" and an increase in a perforation meaning an operation was needed the following day.

However, during the operation Mr Christo found the abdomen was contaminated.

“Some patients have a lot of contamination but don’t go into shock while others have a little bit but go into shock,” said Mr Christo.

The surgeon said that there was no other scan that could detect the contamination.

Mrs Smith was taken to intensive care but died on May 31.

Herefordshire coroner Mark Bricknell recorded a narrative conclusion from the causes given.

“Surgery of her bowel was undertaken and she died of multi-organ failure,” said Mr Bricknell.

Mr Bricknell said that the evidence from the hospital was "reasonable".

However, he said that a lack of communication with Mrs Smith’s family was a "recurring theme which must be addressed by the hospital".