Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Cancer patient died after complication

Heroic efforts by medical staff couldn't save a cancer patient who died after a complication during an operation, a Belfast Coroner concluded yesterday.

Fifty-seven-year-old Doreen Helen Victoria Scullion died at Belfast City Hospital on September 20 2003 following a procedure to insert a Hickman Line through which chemotherapy drugs were to be administered.

During the operation the Co Down woman's right jugular vein was perforated and her chest cavity filled with blood.

Coroner Brian Sherrard concluded that Mrs Scullion, who had T-Cell anaplastic lymphoma, would have survived the perforation had it not been for her underlying condition which meant her blood was unable to clot as normal.

Mr Sherrard said the patient was "extremely ill" when she was admitted to hospital.

Chemical drug treatments are administered through a catheter inserted in a large vein and it was decided that Mrs Scullion's right jugular vein would be used.

An earlier attempt to insert a preferred Pick Line catheter into Mrs Scullion's right arm had failed.

Mr Sherrard found that during an "undetermined part of the delicate procedure" and despite the precaution of a screen x-ray, the insertion into the jugular vein was perforated causing a haemotorax.

Mrs Scullion's husband, Francis, who had been produced from custody to give his evidence, told the court his wife believed the Hickman procedure would be straightforward.

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