Inquest: family's warning after DVT death

The Westmorland Gazette: Elizabeth Cooper Elizabeth Cooper

A KENDAL hotel worker died of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) shortly after arriving home from a week’s holiday in Tenerife, an inquest heard.

The death of Elizabeth Cooper, 32, has prompted a coroner to write to both the General Medical Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in a bid to prevent further deaths.

The inquest was told that Miss Cooper, of Wray Crescent, suffered a genetic ‘sticky blood’ condition that her family were unaware also put them at risk.

Her father Charles Cooper has since been diagnosed with the same condition – but told the Gazette he had been unaware until three months after his daughter’s death that he could have been at risk.

“Now I’m wondering whether I should fly anywhere or not,” he said.

“The medical profession seems so concerned with confidentiality that they’re putting other people at risk. “I’d had no idea I should get tested too.”

Assistant South Cumbria coroner Alan Sharp said he felt he had ‘a duty’ to make a report on the issue. “I think there are risks of further deaths,” he said.

The hearing was told that ‘bubbly’ Miss Cooper had previously suffered DVT in 2011, and this, coupled with her weight, diabetes and genetic condition, Factor V Leiden, meant she had an increased risk of suffering another.

In September last year she went on holiday with friend, Jennifer Robinson, but fell ill just a few days in. Mrs Robinson said Miss Cooper put off calling a doctor because she was worried she would not be able to fly home.

“I can’t help but think Elizabeth may have, from her knowledge of the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, have suspected that her symptoms may have been connected to that,” said Mr Sharp.

“I keep coming back to that remark that she was fearful that the doctor may have refused to let her fly home.”

She died just hours after arriving back in Britain following a four-hour flight, in the early hours of September 11.

At the inquest, held in Kendal yesterday, Mr Sharp gave a verdict of natural causes, saying a pulmonary embolism – or blockage of arteries – was the primary cause of death.

Miss Cooper’s family later paid tribute to her, describing her as ‘caring’ and ‘passionate about life’.

“She was a very lively, bubbly person,” said sister, Helen Scott.

Mr Cooper added: “We have lost someone who was bubbly and personable and we miss her.”

Miss Cooper previously worked at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal, and was working as assistant restaurant manager at the Langdale Hotel and Spa at the time of her death.

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