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Man had 'awful' death, inquest told

THE bereaved family of a man who died from complications following surgery for cancer said he suffered an "awful" death in hospital.

Donna Somers (32) said her father Noel Somers suffered the indignity of being left in dirty bedclothes, writhing in pain, in a public ward at St James's Hospital. Speaking after his inquest at the Dublin City Coroner Court yesterday, she added: "It was very hard on the family."

Mr Somers (53), of Decies Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, died of "overwhelming" infection at St James's Hospital on April 21, 2010, eight days after a procedure to remove a rectal tumour, the court heard yesterday.

A CT scan on April 19 revealed he had a leak in his abdomen, for which he was prescribed antibiotics. He was then transferred to the intensive care unit at the hospital the following day, where it was found that tissue that had been surgically joined following the operation had come apart.

During the operation it was discovered that he had a very rare form of infection called Fourniers gangrene, which has a very high mortality rate. He died the following day.

Testifying at the inquest, consultant surgeon Paul McCormick said it was not unusual for patients to develop such a leak following surgery and Mr Somers should have been able to cope with it.

"He just seemed to be incredibly unlucky. He got this leak and then he got this unusual infection as a result," he said.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell found that Mr Somers died due to a rare complication and recorded a narrative verdict; a summary of the facts of the case. He expressed his condolences to Mr Somers's wife Mary and their two daughters, who were present at the inquest.

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