THE wife of a New Forest publican has questioned his care following his death due to a hip infection, an inquest heard.

Alistair Gray died at the St George’s Nursing Home, in Milford-on-Sea, as a result of necrosis of the tissue around his hip.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard the retired publican, 69, thought to have been involved with The Oak Inn, in Lyndhurst, had undergone surgery at Southampton General Hospital in January last year to remove a hip replacement after it repeatedly became dislocated.

It is thought this is where the infection is likely to have been started, although senior coroner Grahame Short was unable to determine the cause of the infection.

Pathologist Dr Eleanor Jaynes said a surgical scar on Mr Gray’s hip had been discharging “pink fluid” when she performed a post mortem.

Dr Jaynes added that she could not be certain whether the infection entered through the wound, or whether it had started inside the body, although the inquest heard evidence from staff at the nursing home that the wound had healed after Mr Gray was discharged from hospital.

However, Mr Gray’s condition began to deteriorate towards the end of February and he later died at the nursing home on March 9.

Mr Gray’s wife, Karen, questioned the handling of her husband’s care at St George’s.

She said: “I felt I had been misinformed about Alistair’s condition in the last days of his life.

"There wasn’t a care plan in place over the three-week period before his death.

"I had to demand a doctor came to see him, it was becoming really distressing. I didn’t send him to the hospital because I thought it was a urinary infection.”

Mrs Gray added that in the hours before his death, the scar had begun to discharge the pink fluid. She said: “There was a horrific smell in the room. I pulled back the bed sheets and he was drowning in the pink fluid.”

Barbara Harris, manager at the 54-room nursing home, said that Mr Gray had not appeared significantly different after returning from hospital and that the wound had appeared to have healed.

Recording a narrative conclusion, Senior coroner Grahame Short said that after undergoing surgery, Mr Gray’s hip became infected but “it was not recognised prior to his death”.

Mr Short added: “Even if Alistair had been taken to hospital the outcome would not have been different.”