A YOUNG mum died from a rare condition when infection travelled to her heart.
Kelly Fisher, 28, of Rochdale Road, Sunderland, became seriously ill and died within hours in intensive care at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
A heart consultant at the hospital, Dr Martyn Farrer, told an inquest into Kelly’s death that in his 16 years there he had only seen five cases of the condition and only one person had survived.
The inquest heard that mum-of-two Kelly, who suffered from the ongoing condition of ulcertive colitis – ulcers in the colon – contracted a chest infection in May this year.
Dr Simon Cowlam, a consultant gastroenterologist at the hospital, said Kelly was admitted to the hospital on May 26 and was being treated for her chest infection.
He said by June 2 Kelly was feeling better, her chest pain was gone and she was keen to go home. After examination he said Kelly could go home for the night, continuing her antibiotic and steroid therapy, but had to return to hospital the next day as more tests were being done.
He said: “If I had had any concerns I wouldn’t have let her go home. The clinical evidence suggested an improvement.”
But after a few hours at home Kelly was in terrible pain and went back to hospital.
She was monitored and tests were carried out by doctors throughout the night, but her condition worsened.
Dr Cowlam said: “From midnight to 5.30am it was clear something was not right, but they weren’t able to determine what it was.”
However, he said by 7.30am there was a rapid deterioration and the critical care team was contacted before Kelly was transfered to the intensive care unit where she suffered a cardiac arrest.
The team, including Dr Farrer, battled unsuccessfully for 90 minutes to try to save her.
Dr Farrer said the organisms from the infection in Kelly’s lungs had crossed over into the pericardium, the sac around the heart, and in Kelly’s case had actually damaged the heart itself.
He said: “Why it crossed over I don’t know and why it is such a rare and catostrophic infection, when so many people get chest infections, I don’t think anybody understands.”
Kelly died of infective pericarditis, infection in the pericardium, and the coroner, Derek Winter, recorded a verdict of natural causes.
He said: “The outcome for Kelly was ultimately catastrophic. She was overwhelmed by the infection which took hold.”
Verdict: natural causes