Widower wants answers after wife's death

A WIDOWER will be looking for answers when an inquest opens next week into the death of his wife who suffered a heart attack after being treated by doctors for a suspected blood clot.

Simon Tomlinson

A WIDOWER will be looking for answers when an inquest opens next week into the death of his wife who suffered a heart attack after being treated by doctors for a suspected blood clot.

Lilian Sweetman, 58, of Finborough Road, Stowmarket, developed a swelling in her right calf when she returned from holiday in Egypt in April.

When the swelling did not subside, she went to the accident and emergency department at the West Suffolk Hospital on April 5, where a doctor allegedly made an initial diagnosis of deep-vein thrombosis.

However, an ultrasound scan reportedly did not find evidence of the condition, which arises from a blood clot in a deep vein.

According to solicitors acting on behalf of her widower, Robert, Mrs Sweetman was then advised she was “probably” suffering from thrombophlebitis - a similar condition involving vein inflammation with clot formation.

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It has been claimed she was given painkillers and antibiotics, and advised her to go to her GP if her symptoms did not respond to treatment by the end of the week.

When her leg remained swollen, she made return visits to her GP and received further treatment for thrombophlebitis. It is claimed her GP later agreed her leg might need to be re-examined to check for deep-vein thrombosis.

However, Mrs Sweetman died on April 15 before the examination could take place.

She had suffered breathing difficulties at her home and then a fatal heart attack in the ambulance on the way to hospital, it has been alleged.

Sharon Allison, a lawyer at Kester Cunningham John Solicitors, said: “We are here on behalf of Robert to assist the coroner with a view to establishing all the facts and circumstances surrounding Lilian Sweetman's tragic death.”

A spokeswoman for the West Suffolk Hospital said: “We would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere condolences to Mrs Sweetman's family.

“We are unable to make any further comment until the inquest has been heard and legal proceedings are complete.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk, which is responsible for GP services, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Mrs Sweetman. All the details of this event will be fully explored at the inquest and we think it would not be appropriate to comment on the case in advance of this.”

The inquest is due to take place on Monday and Tuesday at the Active Business Centre in Bury St Edmunds.