Woman Dies In Surgery After Spelling Error Delayed Blood Supply


A woman bled to death after a spelling mistake meant blood intended for her during an operation was sent back. Irmgard Cooper, 85, died at Northwick Park hospital in Harrow, north-west London, after blood supplies were severely delayed. An inquest on Friday at North London coroner’s court heard that her name had been spelt as Irngard instead of Irmgard, resulting in the delay.

The surgeon had also not been told that no blood supplies were available during the operation until he was carrying out the procedure on 7 May last year. By the time replacement supplies arrived Cooper, from Hayling Island, Hampshire, had died, the Brent and Kilburn Times reported. Cooper had the operation to repair a large bulge in the main artery to her heart.

The coroner, Andrew Walker, found gross failings in the effort to provide blood at a critical time, when it was already known that supplies would be required. A serious incident investigation report by the hospital found that Cooper died from serious blood-clotting difficulties, cardiovascular collapse and haemorrhage, and that the delay in getting blood caused her death. German-born Cooper, who had two children and three grandchildren, had been married to her husband, Raymond, for 62 years. He daughter, Lorraine Booker, told the newspaper: “My father has suffered from nightmares over my mother’s death ever since. We just feel very let down and betrayed by the hospital for a death that should never have occurred.”

Booker recalled being taken to intensive care to see her mother, and said she was “lying in a pool of blood”.

UK Guardian.