Huddersfield mum broke her ankle on a night out and died after routine operation to fix it

A devastated family has raised serious concerns over the care and treatment of a mum who died following a routine operation.

Teacher Laura Griffiths died suddenly on December 31, 2019, following surgery at Pinderfields Hospital to fix a broken ankle. Laura, 35, of Almondbury, Huddersfield, who had two young children, underwent surgery on December 30 to put in a plate and screws to fix a break which happened when she had fallen on a night out on December 14.

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Laura died from pulmonary infarction which occurs when a section of lung tissue dies because its blood supply has become blocked, a previous hearing was told. Contributory causes were given as pulmonary thromboembolism which resulted from deep vein thrombosis in her left leg and traumatic ankle fracture operation.

Laura's devastated parents, Dennis and Cath, believe health staff let down their daughter and have asked a series of questions at an inquest into her death which is taking place at Bradford Coroners' Court. They have asked questions about why Laura's surgery was carried out by a specialist trainee surgeon and not the consultant who had been due to do the operation.

Laura's family have asked if there should have been a greater awareness of the risk of blood clots as she was said to be at a higher risk of this complication.

In a statement, her mum Cath said her daughter's death had come as a huge shock and everyone had been left heartbroken.

She said that, as a family, it was felt there had been "many missed opportunities by numerous health professionals" involved in Laura's care.

She said Laura a swollen and painful knee which was not investigated. And Cath has queried whether the ankle injury had to be treated surgically. She said a doctor had said surgery was not necessary as it was only a minor break.

In a tribute to her daughter, Cath said Laura was "determined, loyal, funny, stroppy, loving, supportive, dedicated, caring, courageous and strong."

Laura had obtained three separate university degrees and had developed a passion for helping children with special needs. She had been an award-winning gymnast and had a black belt in taekwondo. Laura had enjoyed several different careers including social worker, mental health nurse and a special needs teacher.

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She had become a mum in 2015 and had her second child in 2017. Laura had gone on to set up her own charity, Activity for All, for children and adults with special needs.

Assistant coroner Angela Brocklehurst told the hearing that she had questions for the health trust relating to whether lessons had been learned and if protocols had been amended to reflect the lessons learned.

The inquest heard that, following Laura's death, the family had a meeting with medics at which it was accepted that there had been a short delay in giving Laura blood thinning drugs following surgery. The family was told during the meeting that a blood clot would not have formed during the delay in providing those drugs.

The hearing continues.