The wife of a man who died following weight loss surgery at a south London hospital told an inquest that "a catalogue of errors" led to his death.

Dana Morris is searching for “urgent answers” after her husband Phillip Morris went into St Anthony’s Hospital, owned by private Health Provider Spire, in December 2021 for a £12,000 gastric sleeve surgery.

Dad-of-one Phil, 48, died as he was recovering from the surgery at the hospital.

Monday marked the start of a four-day inquest into his death held at South London Coroners Court in Croydon.

‘The most intelligent man that I had ever met’

Phil was a writer, university lecturer and a trained actor and his wife describes him as “effervescent, funny, focused and determined” adding that he was “the most intelligent man that I had ever met”.

In a statement heard by the Coroners Court today, Dana, 48, explained that Phil suffered from severe obstructive sleep apnoea, requiring him to sleep with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) every night.

He was also a type II diabetic and had been thinking about how to lose weight for a long time.

Dana said that he had decided to go through with this surgery for the health benefits being a lower weight would give him.

Initially, he had sought help through the NHS but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his surgery was delayed indefinitely so he decided to have the procedure performed privately by Mr Omar Khan, a consultant general and GI surgeon.

‘Small serious risk for a life changing reward’

She said: “Phil researched the procedure extensively, watching over 100 YouTube videos involving the gastric sleeve procedure.

“He prepared for the procedure by losing 13kg in weight beforehand, exercising on a stationary bike regularly and staying on a liver diet which was low in carbohydrates for seven weeks prior to the procedure.

“He was testing his blood pressure and oxygen as well as carefully monitoring his glucose levels.”

Your Local Guardian: Phillip Morris with wife Dana Morris Phillip Morris with wife Dana Morris (Image: First Story Media)

On Monday, December 6, 2021, Phil headed to St Anthony’s Hospital to undergo the gastric sleeve surgery.

Dana was told that he would be home by the Wednesday morning and “that the procedure was statistically less risky than a knee operation.”

She added that Phil had described the procedure to his brother, Sam, as a “small serious risk for a life changing reward”.

'I'm going to miss you. Love you Dad...'

The pair exchanged a few supportive texts and their son Orson, 14, texted his dad “I’m going to miss you. Love you Dad, I hope it goes well” before Phil texted back “Love you too son!” and Phil then prepared for his surgery.

After the procedure, Dana understood that Phil had told Mr Khan that he was having difficulty swallowing and could not even swallow and keep down water.

When she spoke to him on the phone, she said: “He wasn’t able to talk for more than a few minutes, due to being short of breath.

“He said he was in a lot of pain.

“Phil has a very high pain tolerance, this coupled with his voice being very weak worried me greatly.

“I texted him after our short call that I hoped they could relieve his pain.

“I felt helpless and tried not to show my son how worried I was.”

On Tuesday, December 7, Dana said that Phil reported numbness and pain in his left side.

There were typing errors in his texts to Dana saying it was a “rough night” and he was “in a lot of pain”, which worried her as she claims this is not like him.

That afternoon, Phil sent Dana a photo of himself.

She said: “I felt frightened and sick because he looked vacant in his eyes, like after someone has suffered a stroke.”

Dana then called Dr Khan with her concerns, and she described him as “dismissive”.

She claims that he told her: “Everyone feels rough after surgery and that it is common that people have a hard time swallowing” and that “Phil was gulping the water and that is what was causing the water to come back up”.

She felt that this suggested he was “not trying hard enough” to recover.

‘It’s a shame you can’t visit Phil, I think it would do him a lot of good’

His difficulty swallowing continued and on December 8, Phil texted Dana and told her that she could visit him.

But that evening when she arrived, she was told that she could not go in.

Mr Khan came to speak to her, and she noted that his body language was “very casual”.

Despite previously being told the surgery had gone well, at this point she claims she was told by Mr Khan: “It was difficult, the liver was very large.

“I’d thought about pulling out. I thought if I pull out, Phil will be dead in 10 years.”

As she was leaving, he said: “It’s a shame you can’t visit Phil, I think it would do him a lot of good.”

This prompted Dana to wonder if Mr Khan has the authority to let her see her husband in person.

She feels that if she had seen him at this point, she would have seen the severity of his condition and could have insisted he be transferred to St George’s hospital immediately.

Following this, there were a couple of instances over text where Phil wasn’t sure what day or time it was, making Dana more worried that something was wrong.

On the evening of December 9, someone from intensive care phoned Dana to tell her Phil had somehow been allowed to leave the ward and was now outside.

They asked if she would like to come to the hospital to encourage him back indoors, so she and Orson immediately headed over.

Eventually they found him, and he was taken back inside, appearing to Dana as “exhausted”, “confused” and slipping in and out of consciousness.

When Dr Khan came into the room, Phil said: “F**k off s**t surgeon.”

Shortly afterwards, five staff members transferred Phil to the High Dependency Unit room and she noted that “some of the staff were laughing”.

She asked Dr Khan for him to be transferred to St George’s but was told that it was not safe for Phil or staff while he was “agitated” and instead, that they would put him into an induced coma so that he could be transferred the next day (December 10).

Dana and Orson arrived home at around midnight, expecting to head back to hospital the next morning and see Phil.

But, at 1.50am Dana received a call from the hospital and around three minutes in, she and Orson were asked to come back to the hospital.

‘I was forced to make a decision’

Dana claims it was only then, when she interrupted to ask if Phil was okay, she was told that her husband had died.

She said: “I was made to feel an immense time pressure. I was told we had one hour to come in.

“I was forced to make a decision to wake up our 12-year-old son and to inform him of his father’s death.

“As a result of being woken up and told this horrific news, Orson has been having nightmares ever since.”

Orson wanted to do something to honour his dad before Christmas, so the family arranged an online memorial on December 23, 2021 which people could attend on zoom.

His funeral then took place on January 20, 2022 at St Mary of the Virgin Church in Cuddington.

An inquest into his death will continue until Thursday this week (February 8).