Back pain drugs in hospital killed ex-Para from Norfolk

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An 82-year-old World War II veteran died as a result of drugs given to him in hospital to combat back pain, an inquest heard.

George Cox, of Hickory Gardens, Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, was admitted to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Harlow in 2006.

He had been staying with his son Vaughan in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

The inquest at Chelmsford Coroners' Court on Friday heard he suffered kidney failure and died days later.

'Not monitored properly'

Mr Cox, a former member of the Parachute Regiment and veteran of the Battle of Arnhem, had been staying with his son before taking part in the Remembrance Day parade in London.

After complaining of acute back pain, he was taken to hospital and given 150mgs of the drug diclofenac.

He was given reduced amounts over the next three days to combat acute back pain, but died 16 days later.

In a narrative verdict, coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray highlighted shortcomings on the part of the hospital.

She said: "He was admitted suffering back pain and given a Voltarol-type drug, there was a failure to take into account his age and previous history.

"He was not monitored properly and he died from complications of the drug."

History of cancer

Although the cause of death had been given as kidney failure due to Voltarol therapy, it was modified after a medical expert said Voltarol was a trade name and the drug could have been a compound involving diclofenac.

Although "reasonably fit", Mr Cox had a history of bladder cancer and some heart disease, the inquest heard.

Mr Cox's daughter Denise Appels, of Great Ellingham, Norfolk, told the inquest: "He survived the blitz in London as a teenager, he was a veteran of Arnhem, went on to survive World War II and then died like this."

Dr Sandra Dimmock, medical director at Princess Alexandra Hospital, told the inquest she would be holding an inquiry.

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