A CORONER has praised the “tenacity and doggedness” of a Wrexham pensioner in trying to get at the full facts behind his wife’s death.

Joyce Ellen Jones, 73, who had been suffering from leukaemia, died at the Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, on December 27, 2017, but it was only after her husband John raised concerns about her treatment the previous day that John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, obtained further evidence and decided to hold an inquest.

At the close of the hearing in Ruthin, in which he delivered a narrative conclusion, Mr Gittins said he had wondered whether Mr Jones’s claims had any voracity, but added: “I recognise now that they did.”

“You have served her very well over the time since her death,” he said.

Mr Jones, a retired builders’ merchant, of Old Hall Close, Rhostyllen, told the inquest that his wife had two doses of chemotherapy in November and December and had a severe reaction. On December 6 she was diagnosed with sepsis.

On Boxing Day she was unwell so Mr Jones took her to hospital and her temperature came down, so she went home.

She was due to have another platelet transfusion on the 29th but early on the 27th, she became unwell again, with a high temperature, and so he took her to the emergency department again.

Though she was triaged quite quickly and put on a saline drip Mr Jones said he had to take her himself to the toilet after failing to find a member of staff to help, and he noticed blood in her urine.

Her condition declined and though she was seen by a doctor he was called away to another emergency.

Mr Jones described how he tried to draw nurses’ attention to his wife’s condition.

“She appeared to be very ill and I tried several times but no-one came,” he said.

Eventually a health care assistant was told to stay with Mrs Jones, and after a while she raised the alarm. A “crash” team arrived and tried in vain to resuscitate her.

Mr Jones said he was told by staff nurse Sarah Wilson that the blood readings were so low – the lowest figure possible - on the 26th she should have been admitted, but Miss Wilson denied making such a comment.

No post-mortem examination was held and the cause of Mrs Jones’s death given by the hospital was Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIV), in which blood clots can lead to severe bleeding.

Consultant haematologist Dr David Watson, who had been treating Mrs Jones and saw her shortly before she died, told the inquest, however, that there was no evidence of DIC.

The coroner agreed with his view, recording the cause of death as neutropaenic sepsis due to infection.

Mr Gittins said he understood Mr Jones’s concern about inconsistencies in the evidence of the hospital staff over the treatment and observations of his wife.

Mr Jones commented: “It was an emergency and I feel more should have been done for her.”

The coroner said that although lessons should be learned he did not feel it necessary to issue a Regulation 28 notice to prevent future deaths.

“I don’t want the Health Board to believe there is nothing to be learned from this case,” he said.

In his narrative conclusion he said that Mrs Jones “had been overwhelmed by the disease process” and was unable to cope with it because of her compromised state.

He concurred with Mr Jones’s barrister Stephen Fisher that some of the concerns could have been allayed had the information which emerged during the inquest been provided beforehand.