Inquest: Efforts to help 70-year-old man accelerated his death

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Attempts by a doctor to help a dying man were found to have accelerated his death, an inquest heard.

Aidan Bloxham, 70, of St Nicholas Close, Barkston, died at Grantham Hospital in August of last year.

He was admitted to the hospital on August 9 and doctors decided to attempt to drain fluid around his lungs on August 29.

Mr Bloxham died later that day.

Doctors had suspected Mr Bloxham may also have been suffering from lung cancer but that was not confirmed until a post-mortem examination.

Deputy Coroner Richard Marshall said: “That was a difficult procedure, particularly given Mr Bloxham’s obesity and his extremely poor condition.

“Unfortunately the procedure led to a haemorrhage which accelerated his death.”

The procedure to withdraw fluid from around the lungs was carried out by Dr Abrar as Mr Bloxham was having severe difficulty breathing.

Dr Abrar told the inquest: “Technically, it was a very, very difficult procedure, unfortunately, but the main intention throughout was to see if we can relieve his breathlessness.”

An independent review was held into the death of Mr Bloxham by Dr Peter Howard, a consultant chest physician.

Dr Howard raised concerns about the depth to which Dr Abrar inserted the needle during the procedure but added: “Overall the standard of care was exemplary.

“Understandable attempts were made to improve the situation after his deterioration.”

Dr Howard said the overall outlook for Mr Bloxham before the procedure was “dismal”.

He added: “Overall, on the balance of probabilities, even if the bleeding had not occurred, Mr Bloxham would not have survived for more than a few days.”

Mr Howard reported: “An accidental death in a very difficult situation in an individual who had come to the end of his life in any event.”

He found that the procedure had caused a “fatal haemorrhage which accelerated the death” but deemed any mistake to have been “accidental, rather than negligent”.

Deputy Coroner Richard Marshall returned a “narrative finding”.

A statement was read out fro Mr Bloxham’s wife, Rita, who said: “I have nothing but praise for the care he received whilst at Grantham Hospital.”