Worker 'very comfortable' in A&E after drill fell on foot, inquest hears

Stephen Corke, from Great Cornard, died in 2018 from sepsis after being sent home from Tunbridge Wel

Stephen Corke, pictured with his wife Gillian, died in 2018 after a pneumatic drill fell on his foot - Credit: Supplied by family

Emergency workers have told an inquest they did not believe a Suffolk man had contracted an infection the day after a pneumatic drill fell on his foot.

Great Cornard grandfather-of-seven Stephen Corke died on August 17, 2018 - three days after being involved in an incident at a Combi Construction site in Kent.

The chisel end of Kango drill landed on the 60-year-old's right foot on August 14 and he attempted to continue working the next day before being taken to Tunbridge Wells Hospital, where he was prescribed painkillers.

After returning to Suffolk, he was taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and diagnosed with compartment syndrome - a potentially serious condition caused by bleeding or swelling within an enclosed bundle of muscles.

Mr Corke died after emergency surgery to amputate his leg.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Corke had contracted sepsis.


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An inquest into his death began at Suffolk Coroners' Court last Friday and several workers at the hospital's emergency services department gave evidence in Monday's hearing.

Steve Corke was a plumbing and heating engineer and a keen fisherman. Picture: CORKE FAMILY

An inquest is being held into Mr Corke's death - Credit: Supplied by family

Mark Williamson, a former orthopaedic registrar at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, told assistant coroner Catherine Wood of his interactions with Mr Corke on August 15.

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He recalled Mr Corke being "comfortable and well in himself", with his foot appearing to be "swollen".

However, Mr Williamson said blood was flowing through the limb - which was "most definitely reassuring".

He said: "By the time I got to see him, his pain had improved considerably. He appeared very comfortable."

Based on pain being a "hallmark" symptom of compartment syndrome, Mr Williamson said Mr Corke "did not clinically appear" to have the condition and believed he had suffered soft tissue damage.

He added: "I advised Mr Corke to elevate the limb, take analgesic medicine and ice the limb. He was given clear instructions that if his pain was to worsen, he should return to the department.

"The genuine belief was that we were not dealing with an infection."

Dr Thomas Johnson-Smith, a radiology consultant at the hospital, said an X-ray of Mr Corke's foot revealed "no acute bony injury".

The inquest, being held in the presence of a 10-person jury, continues.

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