Man who died 10 days after slipping on plastic folder was due to wed
A man developed a fatal blood clot and died after he slipped on a plastic folder in a freak accident, an inquest heard.
Norman Lynch (63), of Riverston Gardens, Navan Road, Dublin 7, collapsed at home and died suddenly on December 4, 2016, 10 days after the initial fall.
An air traffic controller by profession, Mr Lynch was a soccer referee in the Leinster Football League.
He was due to take early retirement with his fiancee Lesley Gleeson this year. He had proposed to her and the couple had made plans to wed.
"He was great fun, full of life and in perfect health," a heartbroken Ms Gleeson said following an inquest into his death at Dublin Coroner's Court yesterday.
"We found love again, the second time round for both of us. I never expected it but he proposed as a surprise on my birthday."
Giving evidence, she told how Mr Lynch slipped after walking from the kitchen into the living room at around 9pm on November 24, 2016.
"I heard a bang, a shout from the living room. He'd slipped on a plastic poly pocket on the floor," Ms Gleeson said.
Mr Lynch injured his upper leg and was diagnosed with soft tissue damage by his local GP.
He had physiotherapy and was prescribed painkillers.
"His leg was black and blue from above the knee up," Ms Gleeson added.
Two to three days after the initial fall, he developed breathlessness. On December 4, he got up early to make coffee and collapsed.
Ms Gleeson rushed to his aid but was unable to help. "He just kept saying: 'I can't breathe,'" she told the court.
Neighbours performed CPR and an ambulance arrived within minutes but Mr Lynch was pronounced dead at Connolly Hospital later that day.
The cause of death was pulmonary embolism in the context of a recent lower limb injury, according to a post-mortem examination.
Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane noted that Mr Lynch had not displayed the normal signs of deep vein thrombosis, which more commonly develops in the lower leg.
"In the circumstances, he did all the things that one does - he went to the doctor, had physiotherapy. But he must not have had the signs pointing to thrombosis in the leg. It's a very difficult situation for you," Dr Cullinane told family members.
The coroner noted that, even if a patient was prescribed blood-thinning medication following an injury, this did not guarantee their survival.
"If anyone has an injury, particularly in the lower leg, and does not move as much as normal that's a risk factor for a blood clot," she added.
"If you are not pumping the muscles, the blood doesn't flow as well as it should and the potential for a blood clot develops."
Dr Cullinane said Mr Lynch's breathlessness in the days following his fall indicated that he may have had small clots forming in his lungs.
Ms Gleeson had urged her fiancee to tell his GP of his discomfort in breathing but this was not mentioned in the doctor's medical notes.
The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death.
Speaking after the inquest, Ms Gleeson thanked friends, family and hospital staff for their efforts to save her fiancee's life and for their support following his tragic death.