A FIT man who went into hospital for a keyhole hernia operation died as a result of complications six months after his bowel was perforated during surgery.

Recently retired careers officer, Andrew Pyrah, would walk five miles, swim a kilometre and play tennis at least twice every week.

But following a routine laparoscopic procedure on April 15 last year to remove a groin hernia at University Hospital of Hartlepool, his health rapidly deteriorated and the 62-year-old died on October 9, 2013, an inquest has heard.

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The day after the hernia operation Mr Pyrah, of Woodmere Road in Stockton, was admitted to the town’s University Hospital of North Tees suffering from severe abdominal pain which revealed his bowel had been perforated.

In the following months the father of two grown-up daughters, suffered from peritonitis, gastroenteritis, septicaemia, pneumonia and a lung abscess.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Teesside Assistant Coroner, Jo Wharton, said that after hearing all the evidence she was satisfied that all the subsequent conditions could be linked back to the perforated bowel.

Consultant laparoscopic surgeon, Dharmendra Garg, told the coroner’s court in Middlesbrough: “As far as I was aware the (hernia) operation was entirely uneventful and there was no suggestion of involvement of the small bowel in the operation."

He added: "In the past five years this is the only case that a small bowel perforation has happened in my hands. It came as a great shock to me as well.

Under cross examination by Mr Pyrah’s wife of 38 years, Vera, Mr Garg agreed that the condition was almost always fatal if not picked up quickly.

Independent pathologist Jan Lowe, said the inquest which heard testimonies from eight medical witnesses, had given him a clearer understanding of how the events linked together as medical notes he had seen were incomplete.

Following the hearing, Mrs Pyrah released a statement saying her husband had been a wonderful man and a true gentleman who had devoted his life to his family and public service.

She said: “We welcome the coroner’s findings, which link the laparoscopic hernia surgery, the subsequent bowel perforation and ileostomy to Andy’s deterioration in health and, ultimately, his death.

"We hope this highlights the potential complications of this type of operation, even for someone as fit and healthy as my husband, who played tennis twice a week, and walked and cycled regularly.

"His untimely death after six months of illness following a routine hernia repair came as a huge shock to his family and friends, who loved him deeply.

“My husband was a brilliant father to our two daughters, with so much to look forward to, but will sadly now never have the chance to become a grandfather or do many of the things we had planned together. His death has left a huge, irrevocable void in our lives and we miss him incredibly.”