Inquest told of ‘complications’

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A RARE complication following vital heart surgery led to the death of a man as he was being transferred from West Suffolk Hospital to Papworth Hospital, an inquest heard.

Kenneth Plumb, 72, of Harpurs Road, Glemsford, died on October 18 2010 after post-surgery complications.

Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean recording a narrative verdict at the inquest on Tuesday said there was no evidence there had been any medical mistakes after Mr Plumb had been fitted with a wire pacemaker to stabilise his heart rythmn.

However, this had been repositioned twice and it was after this procedure that the pacemaker had perforated the right ventricle of his heart and it was decided to transfer him to Papworth.

Dr Martin Goddard, a consultant pathologist at Papworth, who conducted Mr Plumb’s post-mortem examination, said: “The source of the bleeding was the right ventricle.

“This is a recognised complication of the procedure but it is unpredictable and the incident rate is around one in 5,000. In Mr Plumb’s case, the benefits of doing the procedure far outweighed the risk.”

Dr Ajit Agarwal, a consultant cardiologist who treated Mr Plumb at West Suffolk Hospital, said it was not uncommon for wire pacemakers to be repositioned and doctors had followed correct medical procedure.

“Everything pointed to the fact he had suffered a heart attack in the last few days and everything was done in line with the clinical indications,” he said.

Dr Dean said in his verdict: “Mr Plumb died from complications following a necessary medical procedure,” he said.

“There was no absence of treatment that could have altered the outcome, and the temporary pacemaker was essential.”

He added: “Undoubtedly this was a life-threatening situation where intervention was needed and there is no evidence that anything was done wrongly.”