Mystery over why device stopped working – leading to 31-year-old Chesterfield woman’s death

A Chesterfield woman with heart problems died after a device – which had been surgically fitted to help her – stopped working for an unknown reason, an inquest heard.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 1:55 pm
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 10:24 am

Jennifer Bonser, of Cedar Street, Hollingwood, was sadly pronounced dead at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on November 23, 2018.

The 31-year-old’s inquest took place at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court on Wednesday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Chesterfield Coroner's Court is based at Chesterfield Town Hall.

Peter Nieto, area coroner for Derby and Derbyshire, said: “Jennifer had been taken to hospital by emergency ambulance when her ventricular assistance device ceased functioning that evening which led to acute cardiac failure.

“The device had been surgically fitted in 2016 due to severe cardiomyopathy and Jennifer was on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

“Although the immediate cause of Jennifer’s death is clear, the reason that the ventricular assistance device ceased to function is not clear.

“The range of possibilities is that there was a physiological event which interfered with the operation of the device, the device malfunctioned or lost power, or a combination of these possibilities, but on the evidence it is not possible to state a likely reason on the balance of probabilities.”

Mr Nieto recorded a narrative conclusion – which is a factual statement of the circumstances surrounding someone’s death.

Her medical cause of death was listed as acute cardiac failure, ventricular assistance device ceasing to function (cause unknown), and dilated cardiomyopathy.

An inquest is a public judicial inquiry to find the answers to a limited but important set of questions: who the deceased was; when and where they died; the medical cause of their death; and how they came by their death.

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times editor

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription at or buying a paper.