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Suffolk coroner voices concerns for medical care of overseas military personnel following the death of mum living in Cyprus

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A coroner has raised concerns about medical care for military families living overseas following the death of a Suffolk mother in Cyprus.

Victoria Harrild-Jones, who was living with her family on the RAF Akrotiri base, died following a gastric bypass surgery in a hospital in Limassol.

She was discharged from hospital on December 21, 2019, but the next day began complaining of abdominal pain.

Victoria Harrild-Jones died in 2019 following a gastric bypass in Cyprus. Picture: Mark Westley
Victoria Harrild-Jones died in 2019 following a gastric bypass in Cyprus. Picture: Mark Westley

A paramedic was called and she was given pain relief medication and reported that she felt a little better for the next few days.

However, on December 27 while Mrs Harrild-Jones was sleeping in a chair she began convulsing and stopped breathing. Resuscitation attempts by her husband and military personnel were unsuccessful.

Nigel Parsley, Senior Coroner at Suffolk Coroner's Court, has since raised concerns over the medical care of families deployed overseas and voiced worries that the treatment provided following their discharge is not compliant with NICE guidance, meaning it falls below the UK standard.

He said that at the time of her death, Mrs Harrild-Jones had not been prescribed any preventative anti-coagulation medication which, on a balance of probability, was 'more likely than not to have contributed to her death'.

During the inquest, the court heard that for UK patients the guidance requires anti-coagulation medication to be given for two weeks post-operation and, as such, it would have been prescribed to Mrs Harrild-Jones had she had the operation in the UK.

In a report addressed to the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Mr Parsely wrote: "In my opinion action should be taken in order to prevent future deaths, and I believe you or your organisation have the power to take any such action you identify."

An MOD spokesperson said: “The health and wellbeing of all our people within the defence community is a top priority.

“We are reviewing the areas identified by the coroner and will provide a full response in due course.”