Man died after routine surgery

A MUCH-loved Belper man died of an “extremely rare” complication following a routine operation, an inquest has heard.

Richard Hodson, 62, died on New Year’s Day this year — less than two months after he had “low risk” keyhole surgery to remove his gall bladder.

He had developed portal vein thrombosis (PVT), but by the time it was diagnosed on December 12 — a month after the operation — it was too late to save him.

It led to perforation of the small bowel and multi-organ failure, the inquest was told.

Professor Michael Larvin, who performed the surgery on November 12, told the inquest: “If we had known the very instant the clot formed, we could have given a blood-thinning treatment immediately.

“If we had been able to treat Mr Hodson at an early stage he might have had a chance of survival.

“By the time the treatment was done it was not effective.”

Prof Larvin, who had carried out “approaching 3,000” of the same operations since 1991, had no experience of the PVT complication.

He told the inquest he had asked colleagues in the UK and Ireland about it, but none had seen it before. Prof Larvin added: “It is not a complication I am likely to experience again.”

Mr Hodson, an electrician who was born in Milford, had visited Prof Larvin in April last year complaining of pain in the right upper part of his abdomen. A scan found at least two gall stones. The operation was the only treatment available, said Prof Larvin.

He added: “The operation was a routine one.”

Mr Hodson’s partner, Susan Cooper, told the inquest in Derby that he was fine for a week after the operation. But in the second week he was starting to feel very uncomfortable, she said.

Mr Hodson visited GPs at Riversdale Surgery in Belper four times between the surgery and being readmitted to hospital on December 10.

GP Dr Christopher Metcalfe told the inquest: “PVT is very difficult to deduce in a patient from a GP’s point of view.”

Dr David Green, who carried out the post mortem examination on Mr Hodson, said the surgery had more than likely caused the PVT, but added that there was nothing wrong with the way the operation was done.

Assistant deputy coroner Paul McCandless said that once hospital staff knew of the PVT, everything was done to try and help Mr Hodson overcome it. In recording a narrative verdict, Mr McCandless said: “Mr Hodson died of a rare, but recognised, complication rising from keyhole gall bladder removal.”