A PENSIONER died after suffering a fatal allergic reaction to surgery.

An inquest on Teesside heard how problems began for frail, 82-year-old Veronica Tolliday after orthopaedic cement was inserted to stabilise a fractured left hip, caused when she tripped and fell.

Pathologist Dr Chris Rettman said: "It's very unfortunate. We don't know why it happens. Cement is a routine procedure.''

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon John Anderson said in a written statement to the inquest: "The advantages of cement is stabilisation occurs instantly. There are, however, recognised complications. Circulatory collapse is known to occur.''

Anaesthetist Dr Isobel Gonzales said she assessed Mrs Tolliday as fit for the operation at Middlesbrough General Hospital, but said a reaction started shortly after the insertion of the cement.

Amar Rangan, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital said: "Minor reactions are extremely common. The difference is how well a person's body can cope.''

He said if a patient's heart and lungs were healthy they could cope well.

But Teesside deputy coroner Gordon Hetherington heard that the widow, a former smoker, who lived in Greenhow Road, Middlesbrough, suffered from Ischaemic heart disease.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Hetherington said the cement was introduced to hold the fracture in place. Unfortunately, a reaction took place which in this case proved to be fatal.''

He said his verdict did not imply any criticism of medical procedures carried out.