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Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital Trust apologise for woman's death after bladder cancer operation went wrong

A husband has won his four-year battle against a hospital trust after his late wife was left in visible distress following an operation carried out by a surgeon described as having a “God complex”.

Denise Wood had been diagnosed with bladder cancer but died in February 2014, months after a urologist performed surgery to remove her bladder and create a reconstructed one (known as a neo bladder).

Simon Wood, 59, is now pleading with any other patients who may have been treated by Paul Reddy at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to be aware of his tragic story.

His wife was seen by Mr Reddy after she turned down the option of an operation where she would wear a stoma for the rest of her life.

The 55-year-old, who worked in payroll for AXA before moving to the Potted Garden on the Ashford Road, was given the alternative option of the procedure where part of the bowel is turned into a new bladder.

But complications set in after her bowel was damaged and she died.

In her final days, she told her husband she couldn’t breathe and began hallucinating. She told a nurse she felt like she was going to die.

Denise Wood pictured with husband Simon
Denise Wood pictured with husband Simon

The trust denied negligence but paid Mr Wood £300,000. He said: “We had a really good life together. No amount of money brings anyone back.

“I was working part time and my wife was about to retire then this happened and everything was thrown out. If there is anyone else out there who has gone through a similar thing then they might bring it to someone’s attention.”

Fairweathers Solicitors was in charge of Mr Wood’s case.

Simon Wood, from Lenham. (7737814)
Simon Wood, from Lenham. (7737814)

It was found Mr Reddy performed the surgery in November 2013 at Medway Maritime Hospital. During the procedure he damaged Mrs Wood’s bowel.

Rather than calling in a colorectal colleague to assist or repair the damage, he repaired it himself using a surgical technique called an omental patch. Mr Reddy did not record the bowel damage in the medical notes and nor did he pass this information on.

Mr Wood said: “They never spoke to my wife about the dangers and it seemed Mr Reddy was intent on doing this procedure.After around two weeks urine was pooling in her abdomen. The damage was done.”

Paul Reddy, urologist (7657268)
Paul Reddy, urologist (7657268)

A CT scan identified urinary leaks from the neo-bladder. Mrs Wood’s bowel repair also began leaking. Other operations tried to sort the damage.

“They opened up her stomach as it was the size of a football. My wife was unable to eat anything. She was being fed through the neck.”

Evidence from two surgeons said the neo-bladder operation was poorly performed and a colorectal surgeon should have been sought. Cause of death was given as multi-organ failure, loss of blood to the bowel and the initial surgery.

Alex Tengroth, of Fairweathers, said: “This is an appalling example of how some surgeons treat their patients, believing they know best with a ‘God-complex’.

A spokesman from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust said:“We are very sorry for the tragic loss of Mrs Wood and send our heartfelt and deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

“While no words can adequately address their loss, we carefully reviewed Mrs Wood’s care and have taken steps to ensure lessons have been learnt by our clinical teams.”

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