THE tracheostomy tube used by surgeons at Worcestershire Royal Hospital (WRH) will be reviewed after a pensioner suffocated while relying on it to breathe.

An inquest found Maureen Robson, 77, had “died as a result of a known albeit rare complication following necessary surgery” while recovering from mouth cancer surgery in 2017.

Coroner Geraint Williams said pathologist Dr Paul Geddy’s post mortem report concluded the cause of death was hypoxia caused by the interruption to and malfunction of the breathing device.

Mr Williams clarified that a “malfunction does not suggest there was anything physically wrong with the tube, rather the tube had failed to work”.

“I propose the underlying cause was displacement rather than malfunction, as in my judgment this reflects more accurately what happened,” he added.

The coroner went on to say that the displacement of the tube resulted in “obstruction which clinicians in the care of her were unable to resolve”.

Speaking to the Worcester News, Dr Graham James, deputy chief medical officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, said the type of tube would be subject to review.

The tube itself used for Mrs Robson appears to have been lost prior to the post mortem and trust’s review of the case.

But the Portex brand, manufactured by Smiths Medical, is one which is most familiar with the trust’s surgeons.

“We are not using something that is cheap and cheerful,” said Dr James. “It’s a piece of equipment I have been familiar with for decades.

“There was no fault with the tube. But that doesn’t mean we won’t review it, as part of our own investigation.”

Access Legal Solicitors, which represented Mrs Robson’s family at the inquest, said it will also continue to investigate her death to "further understand exactly what happened".

Victoria Blankstone, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at the firm’s Birmingham office, said: “The family remain concerned about the care she received shortly before her death.

“We will continue to work with the family as they come to terms with this tragedy, as well as investigate Mrs Robson’s death further to help them understand exactly what happened.”

Simon Smith, Mrs Robson’s son, said: “It is a tragedy that the treatment being so successful then went so disastrously wrong with the tracheostomy tube.”

We reported previously that Dr James has confirmed the highest complexity head and neck cancer surgeries can no longer be performed at WRH due to a shortage of staff.

A spokesman for Smiths Medical said: “While Smiths Medical is aware of the death of Ms Robson, it is our policy not to comment on these matters publicly out of respect for Ms Robson’s family and the Worcestershire Royal Hospital healthcare organization and practitioners.

“We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Ms Robson’s family for their loss.”