Published: 11:55, 31 July 2021
| Updated: 11:57, 31 July 2021
A man died from developing blood poisoning after a pneumatic drill fell on his foot, a jury inquest has ruled.
Stephen Corke was taken to hospital in Tunbridge Wells after a concrete breaking drill fell on the heating and plumbing engineer's right foot on a construction site.
He died three days later on August 17, 2018, in West Suffolk Hospital, Suffolk Coroner's Court has been told.
At the end of a week-long inquest, a jury of three men and six women took about two hours to reach their conclusion that Mr Corke died because of sepsis, which had taken hold due to a minor injury which was sustained on August 14, 2018.
The inquest heard evidence from Gillian Corke, his wife of 11 years, who said her husband was a fit and active 60-year-old but that he rapidly deteriorated after the Kango drill fell on his foot at Combi Construction's site in Filmwell, near the Kent and Sussex border.
The next day he went to the accident and emergency department Tunbridge Wells hospital, and he was then discharged.
The full extent of his injuries were not known to his family until he was driven home by a colleague on August 16, and he appeared to be confused and struggling to get into his home.
His wife and son, Benjamin Corke, told the inquest they instantly realised he needed to go to hospital, and said his leg appeared "swollen and had what looked like big blood blisters on his leg".
Mr Corke was declared dead at West Suffolk Hospital just after 9am the next morning. Pathologists found he died as a result of sepsis as a consequence of an infection caused by a soft tissue injury to the right lower limb.
The inquest heard from doctors at both West Suffolk Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
The court heard when he went into hospital in Tunbridge Wells, Mr Corke was 'comfortable and well in himself', and that there appeared to be no acute bone injury according to a radiology consultant at the hospital.
Mark Williamson, a former orthopaedic registrar at the hospital, said based on pain being the hallmark symptom of compartment syndrome - a painful and potentially serious condition caused by bleeding or swelling within an enclosed bundle of muscles - he didn't appear to have the condition and believed he had suffered soft tissue damage.
But when he was taken to West Suffolk Hospital, he was diagnosed with the syndrome.
In her summary of the inquest, assistant coroner Catherine Wood went through the expert evidence presented to the jury about his medical treatment, and one expert told the court the only chance to save him would have been to immediately amputate his leg above the knee, but the decision not to do so straight away was understandable.