Treatment led to woman’s stroke

AN Exmouth woman died following a stroke caused by drugs she was taking to prevent a heart condition, an inquest heard.

Barbara Marsh, a retired clerk, who lived in St Andrews Road, died on March 19 last year, at the age of 83.

The inquest heard that on March 11, Mrs Marsh’s husband and daughter had noticed that she had become quiet, remaining in her room for long periods.

When on March 15 ,she became noticeably unwell, an ambulance was called that took her to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

Doctors there concluded that Mrs Marsh had suffered a stroke, probably on March 11, and that this had been complicated by an infection.

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They also found that her blood was clotting unusually slowly, and Mrs Marsh then deteriorated and died.

A pathologist’s report concluded that Mrs Marsh’s death had been caused by taking the anticoagulant drug warfarin in order to treat a heart condition.

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Patients on warfarin are known to have around a one per cent chance of developing a haemorrhage or stroke, but the inquest heard that Mrs Marsh’s doctor had considered this risk and decided that Mrs Marsh would have been at greater risk if she had not been treated.

Mrs Marsh had fallen at home twice in the weeks leading up to her death, but the inquest heard that these falls had not contributed to her suffering a stroke.

Sitting at County Hall on March 24, Deputy Coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death, as Mrs Marsh had died from complications of medical treatment.

He said: “The primary cause of death was the warfarin therapy, which caused a stroke. That’s not saying it was negligent, it’s just a known complication of that treatment. The verdict is one of accidental death.”

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