A man whose wife died after an operation at a Solihull private hospital went wrong considered calling 999 to get her transferred to an NHS hospital as she lay dying.
Diane King, aged 59, of Main Road, Meriden, suffered a stroke after an operation to remove a lump, which turned out to be a rare tumour, on her neck at Parkway Hospital in November last year.
She was transferred two days later to Solihull NHS hospital where she died.
The Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter yesterday recorded a verdict that Mrs King died following surgery. He said failure to diagnose the tumour did not amount to neglect and there was no evidence to suggest any fault in the technique of the surgery.
However, Mrs King's husband Eric, aged 60, said he and their children Adrian, 31, Warren, 28, and Nadine, 26, had serious concerns about the operation and treatment she received at the private hospital. The family is considering legal action against Parkway.
Mrs King visited her GP after a lump on her neck, which she had had for several years, began to hurt and she developed a sore throat. After two visits she was referred to Parkway Hospital.
She had a biopsy, which revealed no abnormalities, and was admitted on November 11, 2004, for a " straightforward" operation, which was expected to take one hour.
Pathologist Dr Henry Thompson said it was first believed the lump had been an enlarged lymph node but it was subsequently discovered to be a paraganglioma, a very rare tumour attached to an artery.
He said surgical removal of the tumour, which was difficult to diagnose, involved certain risks including the possibility of a stroke. Tests, including an MRI scan, carried out before the operation failed to reveal the nature of the tumour.
Surgeon Kenneth Pearman said a rupture to the artery occurred almost immediately as he began to remove skin tissue in order to expose the lump.
He said in his 30 years as a surgeon he had only come across one or two of these tumours and that to remove them involved a different kind of procedure.
Mr King said he was initially told there was no need to worry about his wife's condition.
"After five hours in theatre a nurse explained that there had been a small bleed but it was nothing to worry about," he said.
"An hour later the surgeon explained that whilst removing the lump he had nicked an artery and Diane had suffered a stroke."
He added: "I stayed with her all night. I asked the surgeon if she was in any danger - the surgeon said there was no concern for her life.
"It took so long for her to be transferred - I don't know why when she was so ill. We were so concerned for Diane's life that I thought I would have to phone 999 to get her transferred to an NHS hospital."
After Parkway doctors agreed she should be transferred, a scan at Solihull NHS Hospital showed she had suffered extensive brain damage.
The family's solicitor Louise Hunt, partner at Alexander Harris, said: "The family still have concerns about why the paraganglioma was not diagnosed earlier, and the way Mrs King was treated after the operation. They are also concerned that it took a long time for her to be transferred."
She added: "The question now is whether or not there was an obligation on the part of the hospital to find out what that lump was, and whether that was negligence."
A spokeswoman for Parkway Hospital said: "We would like express our condolences to the family of Mrs King. We are satisfied with the outcome of the inquest."