A PRIVATE hospital's haphazard treatment of an Addingham pensioner after routine hernia surgery ended in disastrous consequences, an inquest was told.

Grandfather-of-two James Hartley, 79, died in intensive care at Bradford Royal Infirmary on October 1 last year after being transferred as an emergency from The Yorkshire Clinic in Cottingley.

Complications, which included him having seizures, set in after he failed to pass urine despite being encouraged by clinic staff to keep drinking fluids.

Notes monitoring how much Mr Hartley, of Hillside Close, was drinking and how much he was urinating were wholly absent, said Assistant Bradford Coroner Oliver Longstaff and there had also been a delay in him being fitted with a catheter.

The hearing in Bradford also heard Mr Hartley's surgeon Jonathan Robinson had not been informed his patient, who had gone in on the day ward, was being kept in overnight as his condition deteriorated.

Concluding Mr Hartley's death was due to misadventure, Mr Longstaff said: "There's no doubt in my mind that the major contributory cause to Mr Hartley's multi-organ failure was water intoxication brought about by the overloading of fluid that went unnoticed and unmonitored."

He added: "The management in terms of his fluid intake and output was haphazard at the very least, which took an unexpected and unintended turn with disastrous consequences."

Mr Longstaff also said he had some misgivings to the overall thoroughness of the investigation carried out into the incident by the clinic's matron Jill Campbell-Ainger.

Questioning Ms Campbell-Ainger about her report and its findings, which had not included interviewing the day ward nurses and had failed to come up with a conclusion about its own contribution to Mr Hartley's death, Mr Longstaff said: "You didn't speak to the right people at all.

"It seems remarkable to me that the nurses involved in Mr Hartley's care during the day are conspicuous by their absence."

However, Mr Longstaff did note a raft of actions had since been put in place, including more training and awareness among staff of the clinic's policies and trainings and the importance of escalating concerns and record-keeping.

The clinic did not have a policy on dealing with post-operative water retention at the time and it is still not routine that all its post-operative patients are given fluid balance charts, the hearing was told.

Ms Campbell-Aingre said she was confident its actions would reduce risks, saying: "They will all drastically minimise the chance of this happening again."

But speaking after the inquest, Mr Hartley's family were critical of the clinic's actions following his death.

His daughter Allison Hartley, 42, of Ilkley, said: "They never asked to meet us after dad died until this inquest, we never had any condolences from them.

"We have been frustrated by their lack of co-operation and the missing gaps in their own investigation - massive gaps at critical points of dad's care.

"It's unbelievable. Dad chose the Yorkshire Clinic because we expected a high standard of care to be provided but we have been shocked by what happened."

A spokesman for The Yorkshire Clinic said: "The Yorkshire Clinic would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of Mr Hartley and we apologise for the shortcomings in the care that was given.  The Yorkshire Clinic has already undertaken a thorough internal investigation and as a result a number of action plans have been put in place to ensure that this does not happen again.  We remain committed to providing all of our patients with the highest quality of care and the safety and well being of our patients’ is of utmost importance to us."