MS patient from Hethersett died of complications after surgery, inquest hears

Louize Oakes, who died following complications after an operation at the Norfolk and Norwich Univers

Louize Oakes, who died following complications after an operation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: Archant

A mother said she would always wonder if her daughter could have lived longer after she died following complications after surgery at a Norfolk hospital.

Louize Oakes , who had been battling Multiple Sclerosis for 15 years, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on January 18 following complications caused by an operation to insert a feeding tube into her stomach, an inquest heard yesterday.

Her mother, Maureen Oakes, of Flowerdew Close, Hethersett, spoke of her anger after the procedure was cancelled twice because of a high number of emergency cases at the Colney hospital.

An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard that surgery cancellations on January 8 and January 11 had made a small contribution to the 36-year-old's worsening condition.

Miss Oakes, who was diagnosed with primary progressive MS when she was 21, had the radiologically inserted gastrostomy on January 14 to feed her through her stomach because she was no longer able to swallow. But four days later, she died at the hospital from a perforated viscus after air and stomach contents leaked into her abdominal cavity.


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Her mother said she 'went mad' when the operation was rescheduled for a second time.

'It really bugged me and it is one of those things that we do not know if it would have made a difference. It worried me and on one of those occasions we were sitting there waiting to go when we were told it had been cancelled,' said Mrs Oakes,

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Miss Oakes, a former Framingham Earl High School pupil, who also lived in Hethersett, worked as an accounts clerk for a number of different companies in Norwich before her diagnosis.

Mrs Oakes, who was her daughter's main carer, said: 'One thing that did not go was her brain. She used to write brilliant poetry. She used to love skating and dancing and what most people remember her for is her wicked sense of humour.'

Miss Oakes was admitted to the NNUH on December 16 with aspiration pneumonia. The operation took place on January 14 and staff began planning her discharge a day later. However, her condition quickly deteriorated after she developed an infection. The inquest heard that Miss Oakes was frail and weighed only 27kgs.

Jeremy Turner, consultant physician, said the postponed operations could have 'potentially' weakened Miss Oakes because her tube feeds would have been suspended a few hours before surgery.

'She was in a poor nutritional way because of the long standing MS. She was not at all well and she had at least two bouts of pneumonia. She was distressed and frustrated by the second cancellation,' he said.

Jacqueline Lake, deputy coroner for Norfolk, said Miss Oakes had 'died from recognised complications from a necessary medical procedure.'

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