Friday 18 August 2017

Newly engaged air traffic controller died after he 'slipped on poly pocket' and injured leg

Norman Lynch
Norman Lynch

Louise Roseingrave

A man developed a fatal blood clot and died in a freak accident after he slipped on a plastic poly pocket, an inquest heard.

Norman Lynch (63) of Riverston Gardens, Navan Road, Dublin 7 collapsed and died suddenly at Connolly Hospital on December 4, 2016, ten days after the initial fall.

An air traffic controller by profession, Mr Lynch was a soccer referee with Leinster Football League. He was due to take early retirement with his fiancee this year. He had proposed to his partner Lesley Gleeson and the pair had made plans to wed.

“He was great fun, full of life and in perfect health,” a heartbroken Ms Gleeson said following an inquest into his death at Dublin Coroner’s Court.

“We found love again, the second time round for both of us. I never expected it but he proposed as a surprise on my birthday,” Ms Gleeson said.

Giving evidence, she told how he slipped after walking from the kitchen into the living room around 9pm on November 24 2016.

“I heard a bang a shout from the living room. He’d slipped on a plastic poly pocket [clear plastic sheet used to store paper] on the floor,” Ms Gleeson said.

Mr Lynch injured his upper leg and was diagnosed with soft tissue damage by his local GP.

He had physiotherapy and was prescribed pain killers.

“His leg was black and blue from above the knee up,” Ms Gleeson said.

Two to three days after the initial fall he developed breathlessness. On Sunday December 4, he got up early to make coffee and collapsed.

She rushed to his aid but was unable to help. “He just kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe’,” Ms Gleeson told the court.

Neighbours performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation and an ambulance arrived within minutes but Mr Lynch was pronounced dead at Connolly Hospital later that day.

The cause of death was pulmonary emboli in the context of a recent lower limb injury, according to an autopsy.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane noted that Mr Lynch had not displayed the normal signs of deep vein thrombosis, which more commonly develops in the lower leg.

“In the circumstances he did all the things that one does, he went to the doctor, had physiotherapy but he must not have had the signs pointing to thrombosis in the leg. It’s a very difficult situation for you,” Dr Cullinane told family members.

The coroner noted that even if a patient is prescribed blood thinning medication following an injury, this does not guarantee their survival.

“If anyone has an injury particularly in the lower leg and does not move as much as normal that’s a risk factor for a blood clot. If you are not pumping the muscles, the blood doesn’t flow as well as it should and the potential for a blood clot develops,” the coroner said.

Dr Cullinane said that Mr Lynch’s breathlessness in the days following the fall indicates that he may have had small clots forming in his lungs. Ms Gleeson had urged her fiancee to tell his GP of his discomfort breathing but this was not mentioned in the doctor’s medical notes.

The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death.

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Gleeson thanked friends, family and hospital staff for their efforts to save her fiancee’s life and support following his tragic death.

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