The inquest of a Fivemiletown man has heard a friend describe him as “helpful, decent and honest”.

Gary McNeill (44) passed away on October 30, 2018 at his home in the town.

Coroner Joe McCriskin recorded he had died from Pulmonary Thromboembolism from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

He said that recent fractures to Mr. McNeill’s left femur and pelvis and the previous surgical repair contributed to his death.

Mr. McNeill had fallen around 10 metres from a ladder on September 22 while working at a property as a joiner.

The inquest heard that Mr. McNeill was prescribed with anticoagulant medication as he was deemed of high risk of developing DVT, however he was not diagnosed with DVT until the post mortem was carried out.

During his evidence to the inquest, State pathologist, Dr. James Lyness said a blood clot circulated to the right hand side of the heart and blocked vital vessels and it was this that was ultimately responsible for Mr. McNeill’s death. He also said the recent surgery contributed to the fatal sequence of events.

It was concluded that the blood clots had likely formed in Mr. McNeill prior to his death and while on medication.

Dr. Walter Boyd, Mr. McNeill’s GP, said that while there were issues with the deceased’s left leg there was no symptoms for DVT such as swelling, red skin or pain in the leg.

The surgeon who carried out the operation on Mr. McNeill, Brian Hanratty read out his statement of events in dealing with Mr. McNeill and said there were no concerns while the deceased was in hospital or during follow up appointments of DVT developing.

Clarification was made around the prescription of Clexane to Mr. McNeill which was given for four weeks post operation and not from discharge which would have totalled a six week prescription.

He confirmed correct policy procedures had been followed and although they were, the medication does not work on everyone.

Mr. Hanratty said a therapeutic dose could have been given if Mr. McNeill had been diagnosed.

He continued that staff on the wards would have been aware of the risk of DVT and if there were concerns Mr. McNeill would have been referred for an ultrasound.

Dr. David Milligan who gave advice to a junior colleague surrounding the prescription of medication to Mr. McNeill told the inquest he would stand by the decision made as it had been “robustly” developed.

Dr. Milligan had told the junior colleague to read the Trust’s policy on prescription and comply with that.

Alan Rodgers, a friend of Mr. McNeill’s had visited him the night before he died.

He said it was “a privilege to have him as a friend”.

Mr. Rodgers described him as “extremely humble” and he added that bearing in mind the injury he had sustained, he thought he was progressing well and trying his best to make a good recovery.

He said that when he heard the results of the post mortem he wracked his brains to see if he missed anything and if he had noticed a difference he would not have left his friend.

He ended his evidence by saying he would have given his blood from his body to Mr. McNeill.

Mr. McNeill’s wife, Wendy, was the last witness to take the stand and she gave an account of what happened on the day of the fall.

She said following the operation, the first week was hard going with the second week improving slightly.

However, she said she was surprised when her husband rang her to say he was being discharged.

Mrs. McNeill said nobody had ever explained the seriousness of DVT and only knew from her husband that he was taking the injections to stop blood clots.

She added that guidelines needed to be looked at with the coroner, Mr. McCriskin saying there could be some learning around discharge planning.

In giving his findings, Mr. McCriskin said he would write to the Chief Medical Officer and send a copy of his findings to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

He added that Mr. McNeill was treated properly and professionally by all medical professionals at all times.

He thanked Mrs. McNeill for being respectful and patient throughout the whole process and said that Mr. McNeill’s death was a loss for both his family and the community of Fivemiletown.