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Stafford man had unexpected but aggressive cancer, inquest told

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: May 20, 2014

By Newsletter reporter

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A STAFFORD man who died from a massive blood clot which blocked his lungs was also battling a rare but aggressive cancer, a post mortem revealed.

Jamie Elphick was just 37 when he died on January 5.

Following the death of his mother, in 2006, from oesophageal cancer, Mr Elphick became concerned he had the disease, but no medical evidence was found to support this, Cannock Coroner’s Court heard on Thursday.

At the time of his death however he had a “highly malignant cancer” in his chest, pathologist Hiam Ali said.

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“It was an unexpected and very rare tumour,” she told the inquest. “Nobody knows what causes this type of cancer, it is highly malignant and the tumour was very large.

“If left untreated it would certainly cause death, but it is not easy to detect because of its position.”

Mr Elphick, of Fairway, had previously battled depression, anxiety and ear infections for several years, the inquest was told.

He had used heroin as a young adult, but had not taken the drug for a least three years prior to his death and was being prescribed methadone and medications to treat gastric problems, depression, sleeping issues and a chest infection.

He was admitted to Stafford Hospital at around 8pm on January 5, suffering shortness of breath. He died at the hospital at 9.19pm.

As well as the tumour his post mortem revealed a blood clot that blocked both his lungs, and was likely to have travelled up from a leg. He had recently suffered a fall, the inquest heard, and was at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis because of inactivity.

Dr Ali added that the effects of his methadone would have been increased by the presence of other medications he was taking, affecting a respiratory system “already compromised by the clot”.

His leg veins would have been damaged by historic drug use, the inquest was also told.

South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh recorded a verdict of drug (medicinal) related death.

Mr Elphick’s father, Graham Elphick, told the inquest he wanted to thank the hospital staff and paramedics who had cared for his son.

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