A HEART patient who passed away on the operating table died of a known risk, an inquest ruled.

Claims had been made not enough was done at Basildon Hospital to save husband and father David Hartnell, 32, of Benfleet, when he was admitted to the hospital in April to have his aortic root replaced in his heart.

He was first admitted on April 23 and was given the cardiovascular surgery on April 25.

Despite surgery initially going as planned, staff noticed problems with the rhythm of Mr Hartnell’s heart and two days later he went into cardiac arrest.

Sadly, he died on the same day in hospital.

The inquest at Essex Coroner’s Court yesterday heard evidence Mr Hartnell’s heart “had been in a very bad way”.

Doctor Martin Goddard, the pathologist who carried out Mr Hartnell’s post mortem examination, said his heart weighed 975 grams, compared to an average of 310 grams.

He said: “This was a heart that was in decline, it was decompensating and its one to get in and treat. The more decompensated the heart is, the worse the valves are.

Doctor Samir Shah, cardiovascular surgeon consultant for Basildon Hospital, performed the operation on Mr Hartnell.

He said: “This is not the outcome I wanted, I understand the family were very, very saddened by David’s death, and I offer my utter condolences, and the offer remains open for them to talk to me in person about it all.

"I can’t say on the balance of probability that his risk of death was high, but this was a heart already failing.”

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a narrative conclusion. She ruled he died as a result of a recognised complication of a necessary surgical procedure, and that his life expectancy would have been poor without it.

Mr Hartnell’s wife said: “He was an amazing, wonderful, lovely man, he had children who adored him.”