Wigan man’s nail biting led to his death

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A MAN’S nail-biting habit led to his tragic and sudden death.

An inquest heard that diabetic John Gardener would frequently chew his finger ends and that this led to a septic infection which caused a fatal heart attack at Wigan Infirmary just days after his 40th birthday.

Bolton Coroner’s Court was told how the former amateur football referee was admitted to hospital last September and died two weeks later.

Mr Gardener, of Clap Gate Lane, Goose Green, had also been treated for anxiety and depression in the years leading up to his death.

GP Dr Daniel Vernon of Sullivan Way Surgery in Scholes, described Mr Gardener’s fingernails as in constant poor condition.

Because of this he lost a lot of feeling and sensation in them.

He went on to say that Mr Gardener would probably not realise the severity of the condition because of this.

Dr Vernon said: “John’s nails were always in bad condition. It was likely they were often bleeding when he came to the doctors.”

Mr Gardener underwent surgery to remove the tip of his finger eight days after being admitted into hospital.

Before this he was treated with intravenous antibiotics and was monitored by medical staff daily to see if his condition improved as he expressed that he didn’t want to lose his finger.

The court heard that Mr Gardener showed signs of slow but gradual improvement and didn’t display any signs of high temperature or fevers.

Consultant hand and orthopaedic surgeon Mr Chye Ng said he was as shocked by his patient’s sudden death as the family were.

Mr Ng said: “The passing of John Gardener was really upsetting and shocking for all of the team.”

The court was told how in 2011 he also underwent an operation to amputate his lower right leg after he contracted leg ulcers - a not uncommon problem among diabetics.

A spokesman from Wrightington Wigan and Leigh Hospital Trust (WWL) said: “We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Gardener.

“The Trust always strives to provide safe, effective and compassionate care to all patients. It is clear from the evidence given at the inquest that Mr Gardener received a high standard of treatment throughout the time he was under our care.”

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Alan Walsh said: “This is a death of great sadness to everybody that somebody in this situation could just die so suddenly.”

He added: “I believe he had a difficult life after being diagnosed with diabetes at just 10 months old and not only this, he had to come to terms with self-injecting himself twice a day.

“And then he had problems with leg ulcers and problems after surgery because of this.”