A WOMAN who underwent surgery despite it being “high risk” died of natural causes an inquest heard. 

A hearing at Winchester Coroner’s Court last Wednesday, heard that Winifred Johnson died of multiple organ failure in Basingstoke hospital on October 14, 2015. 

The inquest heard that the 82-year-old was admitted to the hospital on September 20, 2015, after falling at her home in St John’s Piece, Oakley.

Mrs Johnson’s son Mark, told the inquest that his mother lived alone, adding: “She was found on the bathroom floor. I believe she was there over night as no one had visited until the next day.” 

A CT scan revealed that she had an acute bowel obstruction caused by diverticulitis – an inflation in the sigmoid colon – the court heard. 

The inquest heard that consultants from Basingstoke hospital had three options on how to proceed, which were surgery to remove part of the bowel and use a colostomy bag, a stent in the bowel to widen the narrowing or palliative care. 

It was decided to place Mrs Johnson on antibiotics to fight the infection first.

A statement from consultant surgeon Dr Margaret Stebbing said: “She was at a high risk for abdominal surgery and a high risk to be put under sedation so it was decided we would keep her on the antibiotics while further investigations were carried out.” 

Consultant in general medicine and elderly care, Dr Rebekah Rixon also provided a statement for the court, which said Mrs Johnson did not initially want the surgery and “if any operation took place there would be an 80 or 90 per cent risk of death”. 

The inquest heard wWhen Mrs Johnson’s condition did not improve family members questioned why surgery was not done earlier, something Central Hampshire Ccoroner, Grahame Short put to consultant surgeon Dr Steven Arnold. 

Consultant surgeon Dr Steven Arnold said: “We had hoped the antibiotics would help so that we could carry out further investigation on Mrs Johnson. 
“We do not plan to jump into surgery straight away as it always has its risks.” 

He added that Mrs Johnson had a choice to undergo surgery to relieve the blocked bowel or receive palliative care which could be more painful. 

She eventually agreed to have the surgery, which was a success, but died in hospital five days later of multiple organ failure. 

Coroner Mr Short recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.The inquest heard that Mrs Johnson suffered from respiratory failure, kidney failure and pneumonia which all contributed to her death.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Mr Short said: “Terminal care can be hard and it is difficult for doctors to make decisions and it’s ultimately down to the patient to know what they want.”