Pensioner died within weeks of routine surgery at South Shields hospital

Ernest Stubley died after routine surgery at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Ernest Stubley died after routine surgery at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The death of a pensioner within weeks of undergoing a routine medical procedure has been described as “tragic” by a coroner.

Ernest Stubley suffered multiple organ failure which claimed his life on March 3.

This is a tragic case

Coroner Terence Carney

The 78-year-old, of Foss Way, South Shields, had undergone an endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography (ERCP) procedure on February 6, in a bid to find out the cause of an enlarged bile duct.

But within hours of leaving South Tyneside District Hospital, he returned after feeling unwell. It was then doctors discovered he had pancreatitis.

An inquest into his death heard that the ERCP procedure has a five per cent risk of causing the condition and it can prove fatal in only one per cent of these cases.

Professor Colin Rees, who carried out the procedure, had been treating Mr Stubley for the past 15 years for a liver condition.

He told the hearing: “It’s important to state we had gone through every noninvasive procedure first.

“We did everything we possibly could, but had to find out what was going on and what the obstruction was.”

Dr Rees explained Mr Stubley was taken to recovery and, after four hours, was allowed home with advice to return if he felt unwell or had any pain.

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death as multi-organ failure die to acute necrotising pancreatitis as a result of the ERCP procedure.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney said: “This is a tragic case. I accept that as necessary as that procedure was, there was a turn of events which eventually led to his death.

“In my conclusion, I am satisfied that the procedure which began on February 9 was an appropriate procedure.”

Ian Frame, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s executive director, personnel and development, said: “Mr Stubley’s family have our deepest sympathies.

“His sad death was the result of a necessary procedure which, unfortunately, led to a recognised complication which is known to affect a small number of cases.”