AN autistic man who appeared fit and active died from heart failure just over an hour after he was admitted to A&E at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and a bed could not be found for him on a ward.
Christopher Bithell, 49, was timid and frightened at being examined and hospital staff recorded a massive increase in his heart rate.
A Flint inquest heard yesterday he was taken to hospital after feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms and what appeared to be a chest infection.
A ward bed could not be found and he was detained on A&E, but died about one hour and 20 minutes after admission on January 2.
But pathologist Dr Anthony Burdge said he had died from acute cardiac failure due to heart disease, notably a significant blockage in the arteries.
Acting north east Wales coroner John Gittins said: “The level of care on A&E, would it have been any different had he been admitted to a ward?”
“No, the expertise available on A&E is higher than that constantly available on the ward,” said Dr Burdge.
He said the heart failure would have been “building up” over three weeks. He said it would have been very difficult to distinguish between symptoms exhibited for a chest infection and heart failure.
Mary Bithell, of Wepre Hall Crescent, Connah’s Quay, described her son as very special. He had been born autistic and was unable to speak. He loved dancing and was very active.
Despite his size he was very timid and would have been frightened being examined in A&E and wondered whether that had helped bring on a heart attack.
Verdict: natural causes.