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Sister tells inquest her vulnerable brother was ‘fobbed off’ by doctors

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Martin Denyer, 39, from Brandon, died in June 2013 from complications relating to an umbilical hernia ANL-151215-172805001
Martin Denyer, 39, from Brandon, died in June 2013 from complications relating to an umbilical hernia ANL-151215-172805001

The sister of a 39-year-old man who died as a result of a hernia has told an inquest she believed he had been ‘fobbed off’ by doctors.

Martin Denyer, who had learning difficulties, died on June 14, 2013, after suffering abdominal pain and sickness for three weeks just a year after a hernia operation had left him in intensive care for 11 days.

His sister, Diane, said he had visited his GP in Lakenheath and West Suffolk Hospital many times, as well as being seen by an out-of-hours doctor and calling the NHS helpline.

A post mortem revealed Mr Denyer, of Brandon, died as a result of complications brought on by a flare-up of the original hernia.

In a statement Miss Denyer said her brother started being sick, suffering from diarrhoea, coughing and retching in late May, 2013.

He went twice to his GP who told him he had a virus, gave him diarrhoea tablets and sent him home.

Three days later Miss Denyer took her brother to accident and emergency at West Suffolk Hospital but was discharged in less than an hour.

By June 8, after she said her brother’s condition had worsened and his skin had turned yellow, she called the NHS line and was directed to the out-of-hours surgery at West Suffolk Hospital. There Mr Denyer was diagnosed with an infection and given antibiotics.

Four days later she rang again. “I was very upset”, she said, “my brother was still suffering and nothing was being done about it. I became angry during the telephone call because Martin had been ill for ages and I felt we were being fobbed off.” she said.

Miss Denyer said she got a call from her brother on the morning of June 14 saying he was in extreme pain. He died later that day having collapsed in his bathroom.

Consultant surgeon Mr Eamonn Coveney, who initially operated on Mr Denyer’s hernia in 2012, said with every one of them there was a risk of reoccurrence.

Out-of-hours doctor, Mohammed Chilenge, told the coroner that because Mr Denyer’s main symptom was diarrhoea rather than pain, he had concluded he was suffering from a bacterial infection.

“On reflection I could not find any evidence to suggest the hernia was causing a problem,” he said.

Dr Edward Bower, of Lakenheath Surgery, agreed, saying he had not thought Mr Denyer showed the classic symptoms for a hernia or blockage.

The inquest continues.