Patient died after complications from surgery

Long-time Cayman Islands resident Lisa Turner died as a result of complications following surgery, according to an autopsy report given in evidence at an inquest Tuesday.

Ms. Turner died at the Cayman Islands Hospital on Feb. 14 this year, four days after undergoing an ovarian cystectomy operation at the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital (now known as CTMH Doctors Hospital), Coroner Eileen Nervik told the seven-person jury.

The coroner said the purpose of the inquest was to determine the circumstances of how she had died, but not to apportion blame.

“We are not exploring anything that involves liability. We are not going there,” she said.

An autopsy report, shown to jurors, indicated that Ms. Turner had disseminated intravascular coagulation, the formation of blood clots throughout the bloodstream. The report also listed sepsis among the autopsy findings.

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Forensic pathologist Michael Steckbauer gave his opinion in the report that Ms. Turner died “as a result of complications of a left ovarian cystectomy and salpingectomy.”

Dr. Suzanne Muise, the obstetrician/gynecologist who carried out the surgery on Friday, Feb. 10, told the hearing the operation had gone as planned and Ms. Turner was in a stable condition and able to be discharged the same evening.

She said the patient had contacted her the following day complaining of nausea and a fever.

Reading from her police statement, Dr. Muise described how these symptoms worsened over the weekend and she advised Ms. Turner to come into the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital on Sunday evening.

Dr. Muise said tests showed an extremely low platelet count in her blood and she decided she needed to be transferred to the intensive care unit at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

The transfer was delayed because the hospital indicated that they only had one ambulance available and it was in West Bay, Dr. Muise said.

She said friends of Ms. Turner had helped transfer her themselves along with the doctor in an SUV.

“While this was an unusual course of action, my professional opinion was that it was by far the best option in the circumstances.”

She said she was surprised to find, on arrival at the hospital, that there were two ambulances parked outside.

At that point, she said, she gave her report to the doctors at the hospital who took over Ms. Turner’s care.

Dr. Muise was still reading her statement at press time Tuesday. The inquest continues.

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