Illness led to woman's death after minor crash
A WOMAN suffering from a rare condition died of a chest infection nearly two weeks after being hospitalised by a car accident, an inquest heard.
Norma Exton was a passenger in a car being driven by her husband when it was involved in a collision with another car. She died 11 days later.
DC Peter Matthewman, of Derbyshire Police, said Mrs Exton and her husband, John, both suffered minor injuries in the crash.
DC Matthewman told the inquest Mr Exton was charged with driving without due care and attention but surrendered his driving licence and no action was taken.
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Mr Exton said: "When we had the collision my wife was still alive. I tried to get her out of the car but due to her illness she could not stand, so I had to let the emergency service people get her out."
Mrs Exton, 58, of Tudor Way, Newhall, suffered from myoclonic epilepsy with ragged-red fibers (MERRF) syndrome – a disorder that affects various parts of the body, particularly muscles and the nervous system.
Pathologist Dr Joseph Newman confirmed Mrs Exton received only minor injuries in the smash, in Bretby, and his tests revealed she had contracted pneumonia during her time in hospital – to which she was more susceptible because of her condition.
Dr Newman said: "With-out the road traffic collision, bronchial pneumonia may not have occurred at this time."
Mrs Exton's husband and daughter, who were both present at the inquest, said she had been diagnosed with MERRF syndrome 10 years ago, and that it had been passed on to her from her mother.
They said she suffered greatly and had limited mobility.
South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said he accepted Mrs Exton contracted pneumonia during the latter stages of her hospital stay as she remained in bed and was immobile.
He said he could not record a verdict of death by natural causes as she was only in hospital because of the crash.
Mr Haigh ruled the death was accidental.