A patient who underwent landmark robotic heart surgery died in hospital days later after the procedure went wrong, a inquest has heard. Stephen Pettitt, 69, of Newcastle died from multiple organ failure after the robotic heart valve surgery at the Freeman Hospital. Heart surgeon Sukumaran Nair had been offered training on the use of the robot with the hospital’s gynaecology department – but he refused. He told a colleague later he could have done more “dry-run” training beforehand, the hearing heard. Expert assistants in the use of the sophisticated Da Vinci robot, known as proctors, were present for only some of the procedure on Mr Pettitt, but left part-way through. The operation was planned to repair a mitral valve but damage was caused to the interatrial septum. The procedure had to be converted to an open heart operation where the chest was opened up to repair the tear. Pathologist Nigel Cooper said: “By that time the operation had been going on for a considerable period of time. By the end of the surgery the heart was functioning very poorly.” Medicines and a machine to help the heart function were brought in but Mr Pettitt’s organs began to shut down and he could not recover. Professor Naeem Soomro, director of robotic surgery, said the trust has operated with robots 2,500 times, with more than 30 surgeons trained in their use, and it was a national leader in the field. Robotic surgery was an extension of what was commonly referred to as keyhole surgery, he said.