Inquest: Royal London Hospital stomach patient went through ‘six weeks of hell’

Mark died hours after a doctor employed by the now-defunct Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust sent him

Mark died hours after a doctor employed by the now-defunct Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust sent him home from the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel - Credit: Barts NHS Trust

The family of a cancer patient who died after an operation to remove his stomach went wrong have questioned whether he should have undergone surgery in the first place.

David Berridge was diagnosed with gastric cancer in February and doctors gave him six months to live unless he had a total gastrectomy.

Mr Berridge had the operation at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on March 13, but cancer consultants Mr Kesava Mannur and Mr Bijendra Patel were unable to join his food pipe to his small intestine with staples by keyhole surgery.

They hoped a third attempt to join the organs through open surgery had been successful – but days later it became apparent Mr Berridge, of Hackney, was suffering from an internal leak, and over the next six weeks he underwent more tests, scans and surgery to insert drains and stents.

Sepsis set in, making his major organs pack up, and he died on April 26 aged 60.


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His family attended an inquest into his death at Poplar Coroner’s Court last week and questioned whether he should have had surgery at all, saying he went through “hell”.

But consultant Mr Manuur insisted he had warned Mr Berridge of the risks and considered him healthy enough to undergo surgery.

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The consultant, who has been doing oesophagus surgery for 25 years, said: “I don’t think there’s anything I would have done differently. But I feel very unhappy he died under my watch.”

Post mortem results showed Mr Berridge was suffering from two internal leaks. Coroner Mary Hassell ruled he died of multiple organ failure following potentially life-saving surgery for an otherwise fatal disease.

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