Medics baffled by mystery bowel illness which killed Sunderland man

Sunderland Royal Hospital entrance
Sunderland Royal Hospital entrance
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A MAN died of an unexplained bowel condition, an inquest heard.

Craig Pattison, suffered bowel problems all his life, the hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre was told.

The 31-year-old, of Houghton, had two laparotomies – an operation to access the digestive system – to determine the problem.

But medics still could not understand what was causing the illness.

“I have never seen someone with this problem,” said Dr John Coulson, surgeon at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“At the meeting to discuss Craig’s condition, none of the people there had seen this issue before.”

It is thought Mr Pattison suffered from myopathy, disease that prevents muscle fibres from working.

His small bowel was inflamed and swollen, though the rest of it appeared normal, the inquest was told. The disease affected his stomach, causing vomiting, and eventually a feeding tube was fitted to him.

Dr David Obday, who treated Mr Pattison in hospital, said: “My first involvement with Craig was at the joint meeting. I was concerned that he was losing weight.

“The assumption was that the inflamed bowel was not working and I was concerned about whether the normal bowel was.

“The suggestion of fitting a feeding tube was firstly to get him building up and to see if the bowel was working.”

During the operation to fit the feeding tube, a biopsy was also performed on Mr Pattison’s small bowel.

After the operation he began to eat, though it caused pain. Dr Peter Small, who performed the operation, said: “We were in a quandary because we needed to feed him so he could recover from the operation.

“I decided to feed him with directions directly into his veins.”

Mr Pattison collapsed on the hospital ward on August 17, last year, and was taken into intensive care.

It was believed he had an infection but no evidence of this was found.

His condition deteriorated and he died from multi-organ failure on August 26.

Dr Small said: “Despite our best efforts, we could not save Craig.”

Giving his verdict, Coroner Derek Winter said: “Craig died following an unexpected outcome complications arising from a surgical procedure after suffering from an undiagnosed chronic bowel problem.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull