A retired gardener from Tattenhall passed away at his home three days after an operation intended to improve a rare oesophageal disorder which affects one in around 100,000 people.

An inquest into the death of 87-year-old Kenneth Spencer, of Tattenhall Road, heard he suffered from achalasia, whereby muscles in the lower part of the oesophagus fail to relax, preventing food from passing into the stomach.

Mr Spencer, who also suffered from heart disease, experienced significant pain when he swallowed and underwent a dramatic weight loss in the last 12 months of his life, shedding eight and a half stone.

Impact on quality of life

Mr Spencer’s son Graham Spencer, also of Tattenhall Road, told the inquiry at Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday (December 9) that the condition was having a detrimental impact on his dad’s quality of life.

He said his dad was fully aware of the risks of undergoing a balloon dilatation, but it was something that he ‘wanted’ because he was in such discomfort.

The procedure was carried out by consultant surgeon David Monk at the Countess of Chester Hospital on July 3.

Pain following procedure

Mr Spencer said his father experienced pain in his chest and arm in the hours after the operation, but a cardiac event was ruled out by doctors.

He recalled the smile on his dad’s face when he was able to eat some ice cream the following morning.

He was allowed home that day, by which point the pain had subsided.

But Mr Spencer said his dad was ‘not looking himself’ on July 5 and called the GP out on July 6.

Dr Giles Kent, from Tarporley Health Centre, attended and it was during his examination that Mr Spencer stopped breathing.

Several attempts to resuscitate Mr Spencer were made by Dr Kent and paramedics, but proved unsuccessful and Mr Spencer died that afternoon.

Medical staff thanked

Mr Spencer thanked the medical staff who assisted his father that day and said he was ‘very grateful’ for the way in which everyone worked.

Consultant pathologist Dr Jacqueline Elder found that Mr Spencer’s death was caused by a perforated oesophagus following treatment for achalasia.

The inquest heard that the size of balloon used in the procedure performed on Mr Spencer carries with it a 7% chance of perforation.

Reaching a conclusion of misadventure, Mr Rheinberg said: “Mr Spencer went into the operation fully informed.

“His life was miserable and this gave him a good chance of restoring a reasonable quality of life.

“As a consequence of the operation, there was a perforation of the oesophagus.

“No medical procedure is without risk.”