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A mix of deadly ailments left cabbie on borrowed time, medic tells inquest

By Cate McCurry

Published 24/03/2016

The brother of a man who suffered multi-organ failure has accused medical professionals of failing to disclose the extent of his condition after he died suddenly, an inquest has heard
The brother of a man who suffered multi-organ failure has accused medical professionals of failing to disclose the extent of his condition after he died suddenly, an inquest has heard

The brother of a man who suffered multi-organ failure has accused medical professionals of failing to disclose the extent of his condition after he died suddenly, an inquest has heard.

David Stockman (55) from Co Down was rushed to the Ulster Hospital with a serious heart infection days after complaining to his GP of feeling unwell and suffering from a high temperature.

The inquest into the cabbie's death heard that he was diagnosed with septicaemia when he was admitted to hospital in April 2008. The father-of-two from Donaghadee underwent intensive treatment with antibiotics for six weeks.

His brother Stephen, who was the only family member at the inquest, said that David was unhappy with the standard of care and would keep a diary detailing any delay in his daily medication. In June - some two weeks before his death - David was transferred to the City Hospital.

However, the infection in his heart valves spread to other parts of his organs, including his kidney which he had received in a transplant in 2002.

Dr Emma Bothwick, a consultant nephrologist, explained that David had a build-up of fluids which left him "incredibly unwell".

On the morning of June 26, Dr Frank McCarroll attempted to insert a temporary central line into his jugular vein to facilitate dialysis but after David complained of chest pain the procedure was abandoned.

A short time later his condition deteriorated quickly and despite desperate attempts to save him he died. Private consultant physician Dr Geoffrey Todd, who was commissioned by the coroner to carry out an independent report into his death, described David as being terminally ill and was "on the edge of a cliff" the week before his death.

Coroner Joseph McCrisken asked medical professionals about the safety of carrying out the dialysis procedure on the morning of his death.

A consultant said they were left with no other option but to use the method of treatment.

In his conclusion, Coroner McCrisken said: "In my opinion I agree with Dr Todd that the medical treatment was of a very high standard and that unfortunately he had many serious conditions and nothing further could be done."

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