Stonehouse mum died just days after ‘tummy tuck’ surgery

A 59-year-old woman collapsed and died from a blood clot five days after undergoing ‘tummy-tuck’ surgery at a private hospital, an inquest heard.

Mum-of-two Susan Kellock of Laburnum Walk, Stonehouse, who was finance director and interim CEO of EPIC Housing, had the surgery to remove excess skin which was a legacy of pregnancy, an inquest heard at Gloucester Coroner’s Court.

But five days after the procedure at St Joseph’s Hospital in Newport, Ms Kellock collapsed in her garden with a pulmonary thrombosis while picking flowers and medics could not save her.

The inquest was told that Ms Kellock, had the surgery on September 18 last year and was discharged two days later without complications.

Her partner, Jeremy Hilton told the inquest that Ms Kellock received  documentation following the operation for potential issues and had undertaken her own research regarding risk as she had not previously undergone elective surgery before.

When Ms Kellcok returned home she ‘rested’ with her feet up.

The inquest heard that on September 23, Ms Kellock went into the garden to pick flowers and Mr Hilton found her minutes later “flat out on her back with her arms outstretched, fighting to breathe.”

The inquest was told that Mr Hilton immediately called the emergency services but she died at 8.40pm.

Mr Hilton later recalled that Ms Kellock had been suffering from pain in her right ankle which was making walking quite difficult.

Sherif Wilson, the consultant plastic surgeon at St Joseph’s Hospital, told the inquest that he had gone through the whole procedure with Ms Kellock prior to the operation. 

He said her “operation went well,” and that she left surgery wearing a pressure garment.

He said he told her the pressure garment “should remain in place for six weeks” along with surgical stockings. 

Dr Wilson said: “All patients are given a full debrief by the medical team before they are discharged. I didn’t prescribe Heparin (an anticoagulant) because of the potential of post-operative bleeding, which outweighed any therapeutic benefit.”

Jan Green, director of clinical services at St Joseph’s, said there is a protocol looking into the risk of deep vein thrombosis undertaken by hospital staff, using the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines, but this had changed during the Covid pandemic.

Ms Green explained that when a patient dies unexpectedly following an operation an investigation is carried out and a report is compiled and submitted to relevant bodies.

She said that following the report in Ms Kellock’s case, changes have been made in the last six months in respect to one of the administrate procedures that had been highlighted during the investigation.

A post-mortem was carried out by Dr Terence Jones who concluded that Ms Kellock had suffered from thrombo-embolis in the pulmonary artery following a deep vein thrombosis in her right leg after immobility following surgery for abdominoplasty and liposuction.

The assistant coroner for Gloucestershire Roland Wooderson recorded a narrative conclusion.


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