Hemel Hempstead woman died after gallstones procedure, inquest hears


A patient died from a very rare condition after going through a procedure to remove gallstones in her bile duct, an inquest heard yesterday.

Anthony Leahy said that less than one per cent of people who undergo the treatment – known as lithotripsy – develop ascending cholangitis, an infection of the bile duct.

The Watford General Hospital consultant said that only five per cent of people who do get cholangitis die from it.

But on Monday, November 10, two days after the procedure, 84-year-old Elsie Graves, of Ashmore Gardens, Hemel Hempstead, died after it developed into a whole-body inflammation.

Dr Leahy said: “We honestly did not think she was going to have a problem. We could never have imagined this would happen.”

Although the procedure had failed to remove all of her gallstones, he said there was no visible reason to keep her in hospital.

Coroner Edward Thomas recorded a narrative verdict, meaning that the cause of her death is not attributed to a named individual.

Speaking after the inquest, Elsie’s son Kenneth said: “She was wonderful – she loved life.” Her daughter Karen said: “She was very funny, witty and generous.”