Mum's sudden collapse stuns doctor

Joanne McNaught and her sister-in-law Anne Rose outside the inquest into the death of Anne’s mother, Judith McNaught.
Joanne McNaught and her sister-in-law Anne Rose outside the inquest into the death of Anne’s mother, Judith McNaught. Emma McBryde

THE surgeon who oversaw Judith McNaught's gall bladder operation said he had never seen or read of anyone's health deteriorating as rapidly as hers did post-surgery.

Coroner Annette Hennessy is hoping to find answers as to how the fit 69-year-old mother-of-three died five days after routine surgery.

Yesterday was the second day of the inquest into Mrs McNaught's death in Rockhampton Hospital in June 2010.

The court heard Mrs McNaught was administered narcotic pain relief during the night after the surgery and her pulse rate had risen from 69 before the surgery to 100 one day later.

A nurse who attended to her a day after she had her gall bladder removed, testified that most patients who underwent the surgery would leave hospital after about 48 hours.

The nurse moved Mrs McNaught from the surgical ward to the rehabilitation ward to make way for another patient the afternoon following the surgery.

Earlier in the day Mrs McNaught had complained of nausea and pain to the consultant surgeon who oversaw the operation, Dr Alan Atherstone.

The nurse who transferred Mrs McNaught said she was not aware of Mrs McNaught's symptoms and would have reconsidered moving her had she known.

Dr Atherstone testified that he believed Mrs McNaught could have been suffering from a number of post-surgery complications, the most likely being a bile leak.

But the court heard another surgery was delayed for hours while a CT scan was done to confirm the possibility of a bile leak.

Mrs McNaught's son, David, said outside the court room that the inquest had revealed several break-downs at the hospital which had led to his mother's death.

But he said whatever came out in the inquest, it would never bring his mother back.

Topics:  death inquest judith mcnaught rockhampton hospital surgery

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