A man died during a routine operation after less experienced nurses were left to deal with complications in the surgery after the procedure's lead nurse was suspended hours before.

Gerald Storey of Lonsdale Hotel, Lower Addiscombe Road, died after complications in the routine heart surgery he was receiving at Croydon University Hospital.

The 62-year-old was undergoing an angioplasty - a procedure to widen narrow or obstructed arteries - in the cardiac catheter lab when he suffered cardiac arrest on June 9, 2011.

At an inquest into his death on Wednesday, Dr Roy Palmer ruled the suspension of sister Lucy Jones – who should have been the lead nurse during the operation- was a contributing factor to his death, after suggesting the complications that occurred during the surgery could have been handled better if she was present.

The nurse had been suspended because of a row with managers amid allegations of bullying and harassment that had been made against her and claims she had failed to comply with written management requests.

The procedure started before her colleagues were told she would not be present.

Mark Kemp who was Associate Director of Operations for Emergency Care, told the inquest he asked cardiac matron Sinead Lynch whether the cardiac catheter lab would be able to operate safely in sister Jones' absence and was told it would.

But consultant cardiologist Dr Kevin Beatt, who carried out the operation on Mr Storey said he would never have started the procedure if he had been told sister Jones was no longer available.

During the inquest Dr Beatt claimed managers had not followed the correct disciplinary procedures and pressure had been put on medical staff giving evidence to the inquest to change their statements.

Dr Palmer criticised how sister Jones' suspension was put into effect, after a nurse present at the procedure told him her "mind was numb" and she wondered what she was supposed to do when a stent that was being fitted came off during the operation.

Under Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules, Dr Palmer said he would advise the hospital to give further consideration to the process that should be followed once a decision has been made to suspend a member of staff.

He said: "It is difficult to know whether the outcome would have been different had Sister Jones been in the theatre that afternoon. The absence of Sister Jones did contribute in some way to Mr Storey's death, things might have been done quicker had she been present."

Mr Storey's niece Kara said a catalogue of errors led to her uncle's death and Dr Beatt and his colleagues had been put in a "nightmare" situation due to poor communication.

She said: "I feel inadequate and vague procedures in Human Resources issues resulted in an expected lead nurse not being in attendance which did not help the rapidly deteriorating situation for my uncle."

Paying tribute to Mr Storey she said: "He will always be remembered as a happy go lucky man with a story to be told and a laugh to be had."

Speaking after the inquest sister Jones said: "This is the right outcome and some justice was served for Mr Storey. He should never have been put in that position in the first place."

Michael Burden, Director of Human Resources and OD at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust said: "We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to Mr Storey’s family."

"We do not accept Dr Beatt’s claims surrounding the actions of the Trust. We have already referred him to the General Medical Council for further investigation."