A BRIDPORT woman died at Dorset County Hospital after her aorta was damaged during a spinal operation, an inquest was told.

Margaret Rose Bartlett, of Bothenhampton, was 67 when she booked into the Dorchester hospital in April last year for an operation to treat her sciatica that was causing her severe pain in her left leg.

Consultant anaesthetist Alexander Wilson said the procedure went as planned until 45 minutes into the operation, when Mrs Bartlett’s blood pressure began to drop.

He said no bleeding was detected and Mrs Bartlett’s blood pressure returned to normal, allowing the operation to be completed as normal.

Mr Wilson said that when she was back on the recovery ward that her condition ‘suddenly deteriorated’ and it was decided to take her back to the operating theatre. Surgeon Andrew Hilton, who carried out the initial procedure, said he called in consultant vascular surgeon Nicholas Lagattolla because he was concerned about haemorrhaging.

He said by the time the ruptured aorta was discovered Mrs Bartlett’s heart had stopped.

Mr Hilton accepted that the damage to the aorta must have occurred during the spinal surgery.

He said: “The damage must have happened during the operation.”

West Dorset coroner Michael Johnston said in a narrative verdict: “Mrs Bartlett had a spinal operation during which her aorta was damaged, causing a haemorrhage which – despite attempts to staunch it – caused her death.”