Delays in diagnosing and operating on a former Lord Mayor of Bradford who had suffered a burst appendix would not have made any difference to him dying, a Coroner has ruled.
Acting Senior Coroner Professor Paul Marks said at inquest he was not persuaded the outcome would have been any different if Stanley King had been seen quicker by an A&E doctor at Bradford Royal Infirmary which would have resulted in an earlier scan and surgery.
The hearing was told that Mr King, who was 80, had been complaining of stomach pains for a few days but had not show the classical symptoms of appendicitis. Doctors who saw him at his home in Heaton Road had first diagnosed a urinary tract infection and after being rushed in agony to the BRI, doctors had believed it could be a small bowel obstruction.
It was only an eventual CT scan that revealed his appendix had burst and he had peritonitis – a potentially fatal inflammation of the stomach lining – and septicemia.
Because it was a Saturday there was only one theatre open when he was referred for emergency surgery but had to wait next-in-line because it was busy. After difficult but adequate surgery he deteriorated developing septic shock and was transferred to the intensive care unit where he had a heart attack and died on October 7, 2012.
Independent expert witness Professor Michael McMahon said Mr King’s symptoms were so unusual he was not surprised appendicitis was not mentioned earlier but he found there had been “a certain amount of slippage” and listed a five-and-a-half hour delay between Mr King's entry to A&E and the first surgical review, getting a CT scan then being taken into theatre. There were delays in the system but tragically Mr King was a very ill man. My feeling is while an earlier operation might have given him a better chance of survival I don’t think he would have done.”
Prof Marks recorded a verdict that Mr King had died of natural causes and concluded: “I'm not persuaded these delays made any difference to the outcome.” Mr King’s nephew Christopher Ball, said of his uncle, who was a Bradford longest-serving councillor until his retirement in 2008: “Stanley was a wonderful man, loved by many.”