UPDATE: Trainee surgeons banned from operating unsupervised after Dagenham woman’s death

Maria De Jesus pictured pregnant with the baby she miscarried before she died of multiple organ fail

Maria De Jesus pictured pregnant with the baby she miscarried before she died of multiple organ failure - Credit: Archant

Trainee surgeons will never be able to operate unsupervised on pregnant women again after a mum-to-be died when a pair of inexperienced doctors removed one of her ovaries because they thought it was her appendix.

The move comes as part of a raft of reforms implemented across hospitals managed by Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospital Trust (BHRHT) following the tragedy, it was revealed this week.

Maria De Jesus, of Wroxall Road, Dagenham, who was five months pregnant with her fourth child, miscarried and died on the operating table two weeks after the botched surgery at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, as she underwent a second operation to finally remove her appendix.

The teaching assistant, who worked in Havering, was sent home after the initial surgery on October 23, 2011, but checked herself back in on November 7 because she was still in pain.

The horrifying mistake wasn’t picked up until November 9, and Mrs De Jesus, 32, died two days later.

An inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court on Thursday found her death was caused by multiple organ failure due to a severe infection brought on by the two operations.

Coroner Chinyere Inyama said a lack of hospital protocols for reporting test results “resulted in the loss of a window of opportunity” to provide treatment to Mrs De Jesus which could have saved her life.

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Solicitor Andrew Harrison said: “This is a double tragedy because the family have not only lost a loving wife and a mother but also the unborn baby.

“Maria was the sole bread winner in her family. Her husband is disabled and he has now been left to bring up three children on his own.”

The family had hoped the coroner would return a verdict of gross negligence, he added, and are seeking compensation.

BHRHT chief executive Averil Dongworth said the trust has admitted liability and apologised “unreservedly” to the family.

“We have kept Mrs De Jesus’ family fully informed about the investigation into her death and the subsequent wide-ranging work which has taken place to improve systems and patient safety,” she added.

A trust-wide action plan now stipulates only a consultant surgeon and consultant anaesthetist can operate on pregnant women, while trainees must be closely supervised at all times.