Sunday 21 October 2018

'It's really difficult, I feel powerless' - widow of man who died suddenly weeks after wedding on not knowing what killed him

The late Kevin Fogarty with his wife Laurena
Photo: Home2HomeRun/GoFundMe
The late Kevin Fogarty with his wife Laurena Photo: Home2HomeRun/GoFundMe
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

The widow of a man who passed away suddenly just weeks after they got married has said she still has "absolutely no idea" what caused his death more than a year later.

Father-of-two Kevin Fogarty (32) died in London in December 2016 and his devastated wife Laurena said that not knowing what he died from is stressful.

The couple, who are from Clane in Co Kildare, had been together for around 16 years after meeting in school and tied the knot in November 2016.

A month after the wedding they travelled to London for a weekend with their children Callum (9) and Layla-Jane (6) to visit Laurena's sister and her family.

Speaking on The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio One, Laurena said that Kevin, who worked as a plumber, showed little signs of being unwell.

She explained: "He was very friendly and lovable, he was all good...

"He was perfectly healthy, he had been complaining about a pain in his back from the evening before but he told me he had been working in a really tight attic space so I just gave him a bit of Nurofen and told him he would be fine.

"Apart from that there was nothing, he had been sick with a temperature at the end of September and went to the doctor, he had to be put on a drip because he was dehydrated but he got blood tests and nothing showed up.

Kevin Fogarty passed away in December 2016
Photo: Home2HomeRun/GoFundMe
Kevin Fogarty passed away in December 2016 Photo: Home2HomeRun/GoFundMe

"He was completely perfect after that, he danced all night at our wedding and was in great form."

She continued to say: "We had a family day in London on the Friday, we went ice-skating and for pizza, the back pain was there all the time but he seemed fine.

"Friday night he was restless but at the time I didn't really think anything of it.

"The next morning he wasn't in great form, he said he didn't feel well but he couldn't describe what was wrong with him, he didn't have a temperature, he didn't have a pain.

"I asked if his back was sore and if he needed medicine, I asked him if he wanted food but he didn't eat it, he couldn't describe it.

"He said to me, 'I don't know what's wrong but I just feel like my body is shutting down,' that is exactly what he said and that wouldn't be a Kevin thing to say at all.

"I do think he described it perfectly, of course I didn't realise that at the time, I just thought if he lay down and had a rest he would be fine.

"Kevin was funny, he wouldn't have been serious but that day he was very serious."

He didn't want to see a doctor, he told them to go into town and he would follow them in later, Laurena's brother-in-law Pat stayed in the house with him.

Pat and Laurena continued to ask Kevin if he needed to see a doctor but he insisted he didn't.

When Pat was going into town later to meet up with the rest of the group Kevin decided not to go and insisted he would be fine to stay in the house by himself.

"I tried to call him a few times but no answer, initially I wasn't alarmed but as the day went on and I hadn't heard anything at all I had a feeling, I was a little bit uneasy.

"Orla was driving and as we pulled into the house it was dark outside and the house was quite dark, we thought he musn't be up.

"I ran in and dropped my bag at the end of the stairs, I ran up and I was calling out, I can't describe it but I didn't have a good feeling.

"When I walked into the room Kev was lying on the ground, I knew straight away it wasn't good, the minute I saw him I knew he was dead," Laurena said.

The emergency services were called and paramedics pronounced Kevin dead.

Laurena, who works as a teacher, candidly spoke about how her life was turned upside down by the tragedy.

She said: "It was exactly four weeks and a day since our wedding, we hadn't even our marriage registered yet, that's how short it was.

"The kids are amazing but it was really difficult, kids are resilient though.

"I didn't tell them on the Saturday night because they were asleep but first thing on Sunday morning I sat them down, as far as they had been aware dad wasn't well and had fainted.

"I told them unfortunately the doctors hadn't been able to help their dad and they were very sad but I promised them everything would be okay.

"It was hard for them but they were very good, I suppose we had them quite well prepared for seeing him, I prepared them as much as we could.

"If you had told me before that this was going to happen to me I wouldn't have believed you and I wouldn't have thought that I would be able to cope but something just kicks in"

Laurena consented for the coroner to take tissue samples from Kevin and was told it would take six to ten weeks for his cause of death to be determined, fifteen months later and she still doesn't know what happened to him.

"The coroner told us that day it was likely we would find out the cause of death after Christmas, that it would take six to ten weeks.

"We've had another Christmas since that and I've still got nothing, I have absolutely no idea.

"It's really difficult and I just feel powerless, I have no idea what else I can do.

"I haven't been plaguing them but I have rang them repeatedly and emailed them but they're very blasé and just say they don't have an answer yet.

"It's another stress, you'd like some reason but we've got nothing," she said.

Laurena also said she worries that Kevin may have died from a hereditary condition which their children could also have.

She said: "There's no history of anything in his family, it was just so, so sudden, it was completely out of the blue...

"I need to know if it's something the children could have and should I get them tested or does his brother need to be tested, it's always on my mind.

"I hope it's not inconclusive, I feel there will be an answer but now that it's taken so long I'm beginning to wonder if it's in a drawer somewhere and lost."

She said that she has received support from loved ones after Kevin's death and that her children keep her going.

The 34-year-old said: "I'm okay, children keep you going and I've good people around me, I've got good friends and good family, it's tough and it's a struggle but I'm doing okay.

"The kids talk about Kevin a lot, they say things like, 'remember when Dad said this?' or 'Dad was so funny.'"

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: "The Embassy in London and the Consular Assistance team in Dublin had not been made aware of this case.

"We stand ready to provide consular assistance if requested to do so by Mrs Fogarty."

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