South Shore dad died suddenly after falling ill while on holiday in Turkey
A South Shore man died suddenly just three days after coming home from a family holiday to Turkey.
Lee Garforth, 38, of Moore Street, died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on June 14 2019 one day after he was admitted with severe abdominal pain.
At his inquest at Blackpool town hall yesterday, the court heard how Mr Garforth, a dad of six and granddad of one, had spent a week in Antalya from June 4. During the last three days of his trip, he began to feel unwell.
He attended A&E on June 13, where he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis - a sudden inflammation of the pancreas.
He was referred to the hospital’s surgical unit that night, however, doctors there determined he did not meet the criteria for surgery and transferred him to medical unit instead.
The next morning, at 9.30am, he was examined by Dr Mazhar Alam, who requested an urgent transfer to gastroenterology.
By this time, Mr Garforth’s condition had seriously deteriorated.
He was moved at 12.50pm, and examined by Dr Sachim Bangera 45 minutes later. He said: “When I went to see Lee he was quite unwell. His breathing was laboured. Despite the fact that he was conscious and communicating, he was in distress. His temperature was 34 degrees and his blood pressure was low.”
Arrangements were made for Mr Garforth to be taken into intensive care at 1.50pm. Following this, he was not seen by anyone for two hours and ten minutes - even though there were multiple doctors and nurses on the ward at the time.
He suffered a cardiac arrest shortly after arriving in ICU at around 4.45pm. He was put into an induced coma, and died that day.
A post-mortem found the cause of death was acute pancreatitis.
Mr Garforth’s partner, Sarah Grime, told coroner Victoria Davies in a statement that there had been talk of her boyfriend being referred to ICU at 11am on June 14.
She said: "I can’t help but think what might have happened if Lee had been tranferred into ICU at 11am instead of six hours later.”
Mr Garforth’s cousin, Kevin Hindley, said: “Lee just deteriorated massively. The nurses weren’t doing regular checks on him. Everyone was coming and going and they seemed a bit unorganised.”
When asked by Ms Davies, Dr Bangera confirmed that no particular doctor had been made responsible for Mr Garforth’s care between the gastreoenterology department and the ICU, though there should have been.
However, after hearing evidence from expert witnesses, the coroner ruled that an earlier transfer would not have prevented Mr Garforth’s death.
She said: “By the time Lee was admitted... he was in extremis and sadly all attempts at treatment and resuscitation were unsuccessful, he died at 7.33pm. Earlier transfer would not have changed the outcome.”
What is acute pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas, which kills around 1,000 people in England each year. It is different to chronic pancreatitis, which develops gradually over several years.
Symptoms include abdomen pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and a high temperature.
It is most commonly caused by gallstones or drinking too much alcohol, but in some cases the cause is not known.
Mr Garforth, a sales manager, had a history of pancreatitis and had suffered from a pancreatic pseudocyst in late 2018.
He also he a history of alcohol abuse, though he had successfully cut down his consumption to six pints of beer per week.
However, his drinking had increased while he was on holiday.
Pathologist Dr Dariusz Golka said this, combined with dehydration due to the hot weather, may have caused the condition to develop.