Complications triggered by knee replacement led to death of 76-year-old woman, an inquest heard

2:18pm Tuesday 1st April 2014

By Kate Wilson

A STRAIGHTFORWARD knee replacement operation triggered complications which led to the death of a 76-year-old woman, an inquest heard.

It was the second knee operation for grandmother Irene Franklin in only a few years. however on this occasion serious problems arose which left her bed bound for months before she died in January 2012.

The inquest in Gloucester on Thursday heard that Mrs Franklin, of Middle Street, Eastington, suffered a number of post-op complications including ‘infection and peritonitis brought on by long period of immobility’ and was unable to recover.

Robert Gleeson, a surgeon from Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and one of the medical team responsible for Mrs Franklin’s care, told the inquest that she ‘had undergone a successful left knee replacement operation in the past as well as a hip replacement and it was clinically justified to operate on the other knee’.

The inquest heard that in the six month period after her operation that eventually led to her death, Mrs Franklin suffered a number of complications.

These included a fall at home, an infection in the knee joint and a ‘dramatic flexation of the knee’.

“When the patient was seen in December 2011 it was confirmed that although the wound had healed the knee was flexed so dramatically but would not straighten,” said Dr Gleeson.

Later in the month Mrs Franklin was admitted to hospital again because of a ‘deep infection in the joint’, the inquest heard.

Although a second knee replacement was scheduled for February 2012, she deteriorated and died on January 27, 2012 - just weeks before the operation was due to take place.

Assistant coroner for Gloucestershire Katy Skerrett concluded that the death was accidental.

“She died from post-operative difficulties which were unintended, although triggered by the knee surgery,” she said.

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