Alfred John Lee, aged 76 of Newham, underwent bowel surgery at Whipps Cross Hospital on June 16 2015 and was discharged on June 26 2015. He died on 2 July 2015 from multi organ failure as a result of systemic sepsis brought on by an anastomotic leak.

Professor J.H. Scholefield, an independent expert in colorectal surgery, was called by Her Majesty’s Coroner, Mr Ian Wade QC, to provide an opinion as to the standard of care Mr Lee received.

Professor Scholefield told the Inquest that if there had not been a misdiagnosis of bowel cancer following a colonoscopy, he would not have had the surgery which ultimately led to his demise. In addition, Professor Scholefield told the Inquest that Mr Lee should not have been discharged on 26 June 2015 and had investigations been carried out when clear clinical indications presented that something was wrong, the leak would have been detected and Mr Lee would have received appropriate treatment and on balance not have died.

Since Mr Lee’s death, Barts Health NHS Trust has implemented a number of changes including recruiting more histopatholgists and apportioning cancer patients needing surgery between Whipps Cross and Royal London hospitals, a new pathway for the treatment of bowl cancer patients.