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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

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Rare infection led to north Cumbrian man's death

A man died of natural causes from a rare heart infection, a coroner has concluded.

Related: Carlisle man died after contracting e-coli

David Roberts, the north and west Cumbria coroner, delivered a narrative verdict at the end of the inquest into the death of 32-year-old Graham Richard Lamb, of Linstock.

The heart condition, more commonly seen in older people, was caused by an e-coli infection which was due to a diagnosed bowel condition, ulcerative colitis, Mr Roberts said.

Mr Lamb died at the Cumberland Infirmary, in the accident and emergency department, on September 27, 2010.

He had seen doctors at the hospital several times that month and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis following a procedure there on September 13.

He also saw a doctor and physiotherapist after complaining of back pain but no cause could be found, the inquest heard.

He was later discharged with a follow-up plan to have an outpatients appointment.

The inquest heard yesterday that back at home his condition worsened and he was visited by his GP twice in the week up to his death.

He continued to deteriorate further, to the extent that an ambulance was called in the early hours of September 27 and Mr Lamb was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

As he delivered his conclusion, Mr Roberts said that Mr Lamb was given no written plan which would have highlighted the need to return and get medical help if the condition failed to respond to treatment.

The coroner said: “The deceased died of natural causes namely endocarditis due to an e-coli infection which had seeded in his heart due to ulcerative colitis [a bowel condition].

“In the absence of admission blood cultures, x-rays and scans before discharge the true extent and nature of the illness was not appreciated by his treating clinicians.”

Endocarditis is a rare heart infection commonly caused by bacteria entering the blood and travelling to the heart.

The hearing, which lasted more than two days, was held at The Courts on English Street in Carlisle city centre.

On Wednesday, Mr Roberts had been asked to considered whether Mr Lamb had suffered neglect at the hands of medics.

A post mortem revealed he had cardiac abnormalities and tests also revealed the presence of e-coli bacteria. The inquest heard this could be linked to the bowel condition.

Mr Roberts heard testimony from medical experts on Wednesday too.

They included Hatim Taha, the doctor who saw Mr Lamb before his discharge.

Dr Taha told the court: “There was not evidence of infection that I could see.”

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