Bucknall mum died weighing just over four stone
A WOMAN who suffered extreme stomach pain over a number of years died looking like someone "from Belsen" and weighing little more than four stone.
Coroner Ian Smith held an inquest into the death of Marjorie Eardley after being stunned by how emaciated she had become.
Mrs Eardley died at home in Dividy Road, Bucknall, on June 12 last year from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which means scarring on the lungs, contributed to by poor nutrition.
Recording a verdict of death due to natural causes at the hearing yesterday, North Staffordshire Coroner Mr Smith said he would not have called for an inquest into her death, if she was of a more healthy weight.
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But given the fact she weighed just 27kg (4st 3lbs), he said he would have left himself open to criticism had he not investigated.
Mr Smith said: "Photographs showed an extremely emaciated lady.
"She looked like a lady out of Belsen. Even to a hard-nosed coroner those photographs were shocking and appalling and I wondered how a lady in this modern age could come to this."
The inquest heard Mrs Eardley had suffered from a range of complex and extremely painful gastric problems over the past 37 years, which had culminated in a number of operations, including surgery to remove the whole of her large intestine.
The 65-year-old mother-of-two suffered terrible pain every time she ate and she had been fed through a tube for the past 10 years.
Poor nutrition due to her inability to eat over the years had caused a range of other medical problems, including osteoporosis and kyphosis, causing her spine to curve.
Her husband of 47 years, John Eardley, told the inquest: "Her problems started when she was aged 28. Until then she was fine, a lovely girl, beautiful.
"She started having terrible stomach pains, she was in agony.
"She was never well again. It was a nightmare.
"She was in and out of hospital. She caught every infection going.
"It was so hard seeing her in pain all that time. I've lost years of my life looking after her. Not only did it take my wife's life, it took mine as well.
"She looked old beyond her years. From a beautiful lady who I married all those years ago, to see her go like that right before my eyes was awful."
Mr Eardley told the inquest that his wife fell asleep on June 12 last year and simply never woke up.
The inquest heard that over the last few months of her life, Mrs Eardley's weight dropped from 37kg to 27kg.
Dr Fiona Leslie, consultant gastroenterologist at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, said even if Mrs Eardley had been hospitalised, it was unlikely her life could have been saved, although she may have lived a few more months.
Vicky Blackshaw, dietician at the hospital, said she was running out of options in trying to increase Mrs Eardley's nutritional intake. She said the pain was preventing her from feeding, even from a peg.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Eardley said: "She was a very brave and strong-willed lady."
The family has instructed solicitors to look into the case.