an ‘innocent’ slip on a riverbank while taking part in a hobby he loved ended in the death of a fit and healthy fisherman.
When Terence Howley, from Mexborough, slipped and tore a tendon in his knee it appeared a straightforward matter to correct it through surgery. But complications which set in following treatment led to the former miner developing a blood clot and a subsequent deep vein thrombosis which resulted in his death just weeks later, an inquest heard.
Mr Howley, 65, of Adwick Court, a keen angler and golfer, was fishing on June 16 in Fishlake when he slipped down the riverbank.
He was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where coroner Fred Curtis said he was treated correctly and promptly.
Following an operation he was discharged and was giving drugs to prevent blood clots forming, the hearing was told.
Despite making reasonable progress he was readmitted on July 4 after his family called an ambulance because Mr Howley was unwell and breathless.
Six hours later specialists at DRI referred Mr Howley for a CT scan which revealed he had a large blood clot on his calf, which had affected the right side of his heart. Consultant physician Moe Kyi authorised clot busting treatment, which “much improved” Mr Howley’s condition to relatively normal and stable, Doncaster Coroner’s Court heard.
On July 5 and 6 Dr Kyi had been satisfied with his progress and Mr Howley was moved onto a different ward.
But his family told the inquest they had been concerned about discolouration and swelling on his injured leg, but said staff had taken the view that the swelling was not particularly serious.
The swelling was getting worse on July 8 and the intention had been for an orthopaedic team to see Mr Howley on July 9. But before he could be seen, that morning at 8.15am he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed in the toilet. Mr Howley was pronounced dead after attempts to resuscitate him failed.
A post mortem examination revealed the pensioner died as a result of a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis following knee surgery.
Mr Howley’s family were concerned at the six hour delay before he underwent a scan, but Mr Curtis said the wait had not been ‘particularly gross’.
Mr Curtis also said that even had the deep vein thrombosis in his leg been identified by further CT scans on July 5 or 6, he was satisfied that the outcome would not have been different and his treatment would have still been the same.
The coroner, who recorded a narrative verdict, also quashed relatives’ concerns that Mr Howley was not given stockings or mechanical means to stop any thrombosis saying the treatments would not necessarily have benefitted him and hospital protocols had been broadly followed.
Expressing his sympathy to the family Mr Curtis said: “One would not have expected this outcome following a relatively innocent slip on a river bank.”