Why did my Kirk have to die at 34?

MOTHER of six Sarah Law wants one question answered: Why did her husband die in the prime of his life?Carpenter Kirk, a teetotal non- smoker, was a fit and healthy man, three years prior to his death.

By Georgina James

MOTHER of six Sarah Law wants one question answered: Why did her husband die in the prime of his life?

Carpenter Kirk, a teetotal non- smoker, was a fit and healthy man, three years prior to his death.

Now, his widow has told an inquest how she stepped around the dead body of her husband not realising he had collapsed and died.

She wants to know why her children have been left without a father.

The grief-stricken widow, who dated her husband from the age of 13, watched her husband's health deteriorate, while doctors failed to diagnose any problems.

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An inquest heard how despite her pleas for help, doctors failed to diagnose any complaint, claiming his illness was "pyschosomatic".

Devoted father Mr Law, died at home on September 18, aged just 34. What killed him remains a mystery to this day.

In 1998 Mr Law fell from the top of a lorry but was never taken to hospital. It was a year after this accident that he first started experiencing pain in the back of his neck, but Sarah remains convinced the accident is unconnected to his death.

Mrs Law, 34, of Chesterton Close, Ipswich, said: "The doctors failed us. We begged for help but because they couldn't find out what was wrong with Kirk straight away it seemed like they just gave up on him.

"Nobody listened or understood the extreme pain Kirk was in. His pain was not taken seriously and now I have lost my husband and my children have lost a loving father."

The couple begged their GP for more tests, and saw several doctors at Ipswich Hospital as he underwent tests and an MRI scan which failed to show anything.

"The doctors were convinced that all Kirk's symptoms were in his head. They tried to get him to go and see a psychiatrist as they thought he was making it up. Nobody took him seriously," said Mrs Law

It was the on the morning of September 18, 2002, that Mrs Law's world came crumbling down when she discovered her husband lying face down on the living room floor.

She told an inquest that her

husband woke at around 11.30pm to see to one of their children.

The next morning she went to get a bottle for her youngest child and found her husband lying on the living room floor.

She thought he was sleeping there to relieve his pain and it was only when she turned him over that she saw he was dead.

After the pain first came in March 1999, towards the end of his life it was so severe he would have screaming fits lasting for hours at a time.

Mrs Law said: "The pain started in Kirk's neck and then moved to the middle of his back and eventually down the entire right side of his body and into his leg.

"His pain got more and more intense and progressively worse. He would scream out in pain, both day and night. Kirk would go white, start shaking and sweating and his screams were so loud that our neighbours could hear him.

"In the end Kirk struggled to walk even 100 yards."

The couple married in 1987 in Aldershot and moved to Ipswich in 1999 and it was not longer after that, that Kirk started to feel a discomfort in the back of his neck.

On three occasions Kirk's pain got so severe that he was rushed to hospital, but each time his symptoms baffled doctors and he was discharged the next day, despite still being in agony.

"The hospital said they didn't have enough beds to accommodate Kirk," said Mrs Law.

She cannot understand that why, in a world which is constantly breaking new barriers, nobody could diagnose what was wrong with her husband.

"With all this technology in the world today, it puzzles me as to why nobody could found out what was wrong with Kirk. My husband was desperate for help but nobody could offer him any. He was given painkillers but they did little to help.

"They gave up on him too easily. I need to know what caused Kirk to die. Whatever killed him could be hereditary and I need to know for the sake of my children. The coroner recorded an open verdict and that is not good enough," she said.

The inquest into Mr Law's death, which was held at Ipswich Crown Court last Wednesday, heard he was believed to have an irregular heart beat, causing fluid to build up on the lungs.

A post mortem revealed there was evidence to show that had happened, but the cause of death remained inconclusive.

The devoted father left behind his six children, Ben, 17, Caley, 15, Jack, eight, Lauren, seven, Megan, five and Courtney, three.

Mrs Law is now considering how she can take her complaint forward.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: "These are very sad and tragic circumstances and we would like to extend our sympathy to Mrs Law.

"We would really urge Mrs Law to get in touch with us, so that we can invite her to meet with senior clinicians and staff in person, so that we can discuss together all the issues she would like to raise."

A spokesman for Ipswich Primary Care Trust said: "Ipswich Primary Care Trust expresses its sadness and sympathy to Mrs Law and her family over the tragic death of her husband, Kirk. IPCT would welcome the opportunity to discuss his widow's concerns and we would encourage Mrs Law to contact us as soon as possible."