THE family of a Kidderminster pensioner who died in hospital say they can finally rest after a coroner recognised a painful bowel infection as a cause of his death.

Retired bed shop owner Kenneth Gough passed away on October 16 last year - three weeks after he was admitted to hospital with seizures.

The 75-year-old had suffered with Parkinson's for most of his retired life, but was diagnosed with a clostridium difficile (C diff) bowel infection in hospital and his health continued to deteriorate after he failed to respond to antibiotics and developed pneumonia.

But a post-mortem found no evidence of the infection, leading the pathologist to determine that it must have resolved prior to his death.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

Mr Gough's medical cause of death was concluded to be heart disease, with contributing factors listed as high cholesterol, vascular dementia caused by Parkinson's disease and asbestosis.

His wife Jane Gough said: "He was being treated for the C diff right up until the day he died and it just doesn't make sense to be told that wasn't why he died.

"He went through hell in the last three weeks of his life because of this infection. It was horrendous. He suffered in so much pain.

"I want the death certificate to do him justice."

An inquest held on Monday (January 3) heard how Mr Gough had regularly been exposed to asbestos at work between the early 1960s and 1980s, which had contributed to his poor health in later life.

Senior coroner David Reid said: "Mr Gough had a number of significant pre-existing conditions and on September 22, he was admitted eventually to Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Within a few days, he was diagnosed with C diff infection.

"Doctors stated at the time that this caused toxic megacolon and an increase in the size of the colon due to infection.

"This was treated appropriately with antibiotics and by the time of his death, the pathologist found this had resolved.

"Mr Gough's physical reserves were limited by the conditions he was living with and these were further weakened by the toxic megacolon in the weeks leading up to his death.

"Although responding positively to treatment at first, his condition declined and Mr Gough died on October 16."

A review carried out by Worcestershire NHS Acute Hospitals Trust concluded Mr Gough had received good patient care.

Mr Reid said the pathologist did not dispute Mr Gough had the infection at some point, but had concluded it was not a direct cause of his death.

Doctors previously said Mr Gough had likely been C diff-positive prior to his stay in hospital.

But after reading a letter sent by Mr Gough's consultant to Mrs Gough on December 19, which stated C diff "was a contributing cause to his deterioration and eventual death", Mr Reid agreed to add the infection as a secondary cause on his death certificate.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

He told the court: "Whether or not the C diff infection had resolved before Mr Gough's death, it was undoubtedly a contributing factor to his deterioration and subsequent death."

Concluding that Mr Gough died of natural causes, Mr Reid added: "Kenneth Gough died as a result of medical conditions to which asbestos exposure during his working life contributed."

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Gough said: "I feel like I can rest now. It's been a nightmare."

Three days before he was admitted to hospital, Mr Gough, who lived with his wife at Berrington Court, won Role Model of the Year in the Kidderminster Town Council Community Awards for helping to raise £19,000 for a minibus to reduce elderly isolation.

Mrs Gough added: "He wanted elderly people to have their independence. He would do anything for anyone."