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Mum 'had all to live for after 8-stone weight loss' but died from infection


Susan McGee

Susan McGee

Susan McGee

A woman who died from sepsis after developing an "extremely rare" infection "had everything to live for" after losing eight stone for an operation, her daughter has said.

Melissa Barry was speaking after the Dublin coroner returned a verdict of medical misadventure at the inquest into the death of Susan McGee (52) from Skerries Road in Rush, Co Dublin.

The mother-of-two died at Beaumont Hospital on July 24, 2013, having developed a rare Clostridium Difficile infection affecting almost her entire bowel following a hernia operation at The Hermitage Medical Clinic 11 days earlier.

The inquest heard from consultant surgeon Professor Arnold Hill that during the operation an outer colon tear was repaired and, as a result, Mrs McGee was placed on a longer course of antibiotics.

One of the risk factors for developing C. Diff infection is antibiotics. Returning the verdict, coroner Dr Brian Farrell said C. Diff normally causes diarrhoea but in this case it resulted in an "extremely rare" inflammation of the digestive tract.

One of the issues which concerned the family's legal team at the inquest was the handover of Mrs McGee's care when Prof Hill went on leave three days after her readmission to The Hermitage with a small bowel obstruction.

He said he anticipated a "prompt" recovery when he handed care from Saturday, July 20 onwards to his colleague, consultant general surgeon Colm Power.


However, Mr Power was not aware surgical registrar Dr Firas Ayoub could only review Mrs McGee on Saturday.

Mr Power left instructions he should be called if there was any deterioration in Mrs McGee's condition. When her blood pressure dropped on Sunday and "brown faecal matter" came up her nasal gastric tube, the resident medical officer on call was called instead.

He consulted with Dr Ayoub rather than Mr Power. She was first seen by Mr Power the following morning after he was told of her deterioration.

Dr Farrell said the reporting structures following handover were not clear to some of the nurses "and even consultants".

Counsel representing The Hermitage Conor Halpin said it is "quite clear that it was set out in the medical notes" who was to be contacted and had responsibility for Mrs McGee's care over the weekend.

Speaking outside the court, Mrs Barry said the inquest had been difficult but answered a lot of the family's questions.

Mrs McGee lost eight stone in less than a year before the hernia operation. "She wanted to be able to play football with her grandson," her daughter said.