Grandmother Judy McNaught.
Grandmother Judy McNaught. Contributed

Woman's death a disaster: doctor

A DOCTOR whose statement was suppressed by a coroner on Thursday, took the witness stand yesterday at an inquest of a woman who died after routine surgery at Rockhampton Hospital.

Judith McNaught went into hospital in June, 2010, to have her gall bladder removed but died five days later. The 69-year-old died of massive organ failure.

Dr Melanie Nicholson was involved in a second surgery on Mrs McNaught, performed when she became critically ill two days after her gall bladder was removed.

The consultant anaesthetist yesterday labelled Mrs McNaught's death a disaster.

"I felt extremely upset because I obviously had some part in the whole disaster and I was really, really sorry about the outcome," Dr Nicholson said.

She said she had just completed an operation on another patient when she was informed Mrs McNaught needed emergency surgery.

Dr Nicholson said she had to check over Mrs McNaught in a corridor.

She testified that she felt forced to rush the grandmother into surgery and did not put more "lines" in Mrs McNaught to help get fluids into her faster.

She said she and the surgeon believed Mrs McNaught had enough antibiotics fluids necessary for surgery, but discovered too late she had only half of the amount she needed.

Mrs McNaught remained unconscious after the surgery and died three days later.

The court heard Dr Nicholson was so distressed by Mrs McNaught's death that she completed a medical report into her death and submitted it to the hospital.

The court heard Mrs McNaught's family wasn't aware of what occurred during the operation or the report until three days ago.

Dr Nicholson said she assumed the family would have been told.

"I think the family should be communicated with all the time," she said.

"They need to be informed of everything," she said.

The inquest was set for five days, but Coroner Annette Hennessy yesterday adjourned it to May because several testimonies took longer than expected.



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