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NHS condemned over girl’s death

The parents of a five-year-old girl who died when her aorta was ruptured by a surgical instrument have hit out at the NHS for the “incredible risks” it took.

Bethany Bowen died during an operation on her spleen. Doctors were said to be using a morcellator – a type of rotating blade – during the procedure without her parents’ knowledge.

At Oxford Coroners’ Court, Assistant Deputy Coroner Dr Richard Whittington said that although Bethany’s injury had taken place during surgery at the city’s John Radcliffe Hospital, it was unlikely it had been caused by the morcellator. He recorded a narrative verdict and concluded that Bethany had died as a result of surgical trauma caused by “an unspecified surgical instrument”.

But Bethany’s parents, say they are “disappointed” with the verdict, and plan to pursue a criminal negligence claim against the hospital.

Her father Richard, 32, said: “The risks that were taken by the trust during the operation on Bethany were simply incredible and the attitude of the trust was truly appalling.”

He also warned other parents to “question everything”, surgeons do, and called for doctors to give better explanations of procedures.

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