Parents lose their son to CJD ‘ticking time-bomb’

Parents Barrie and Janet Cox were shocked with the rapid decline in their son. He only began to showing signs of illness in December of last year.

Parents Barrie and Janet Cox were shocked with the rapid decline in their son. He only began to showing signs of illness in December of last year.

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A TREATMENT designed to help a poorly child grow tragically turned into a “ticking time-bomb” which cost a Grantham couple their son last week.

Ian Cox, 46, of University Court, Grantham, was treated with Human Growth Hormones after he stopped growing normally as a child.

Between the ages of seven and 18, Mr Cox received HGH injections but, years later, the treatment was found to cause Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD) - a rare, incurable and always fatal brain disease.

Mr Cox showed no symptoms of being affected by CJD until December of last year when his family noticed slurred speech and a slight loss of mobility.

Mum, Janet Cox, of Manners Street, Grantham, said: “It was called a ‘wonder drug’ and in those days it was. But it ended up being a ticking time-bomb in his brain.

“There was no indication at the time that there were any problems. They just didn’t know. We agreed to it because it would help his growth.”

Doctors first thought Mr Cox was suffering from nothing more than an ear infection. After tablets failed to cure the problem he was sent for an MRI scan and “mini-strokes” were suggested as a possible cause.

It was not until February, after being seen by a neurologist, that Mr Cox was diagnosed with CJD.

Ian’s father, Barrie Cox, said: “By the end I could pass my hand in front of his face and there would be no recognition at all.

“But in the whole time he was ill he never, ever complained.

“He wanted lots of photographs too because I think he knew what he had got.”

Mr Cox died from iatrogenic CJD last Monday after spending his final weeks at Grantham Hospital. Only three people in the UK died from iatrogenic CJD last year.

Janet Cox said: “The nurses at Grantham were absolutely fantastic. They couldn’t have done any more for Ian.”

Mr Cox worked as a chef at Stocken Prison in Rutland, having previously worked as a chef at Belvoir Castle and Prince William of Gloucester Barracks.

On Friday, May 11, his work colleagues will take part in a special run in his honour at Stocken Prison. Darren Clark, Danny Pinner and Fred Murad will run 10km to raise funds for the CJD Support Network.

Barrie Cox said: “We’ve had some lovely comments from prisoners as well as colleagues.

“The prisoners even had a collection for him. He really was held in high esteem.”