Widow's anger over Legionnaires' death

A GRIEVING widow is today demanding an investigation into her husband's death after he contracted a lethal strain of Legionnaires' disease.

A GRIEVING widow is today demanding an investigation into her husband's death after he contracted a lethal strain of Legionnaires' disease.

Distraught Astrid Tricker said she feels the health authorities are trying to brush her husband Brian's death under the carpet and have failed to properly investigate where he got the illness from.

Mrs Tricker's anger is driven by a determination to ensure no one else suffers the same torment she and her family has endured following Brian's death last month.

She revealed that HPA officials contacted her only ONCE since Mr Tricker was first diagnosed - despite the seriousness and rarity of his illness.

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And she accused the agency of failing to properly probe the possible source of the disease.

Mrs Tricker of Nelson Road, Ipswich said: “It was heartbreaking to see my husband die.

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“But now I need to know how this happened - I deserve answers.”

Mr Tricker came down with flu-like symptoms towards the end of August and was eventually admitted to Ipswich hospital.

So rapid and severe was the deterioration of his health that within days he had been transferred to the hospital's critical care unit.

At one point, his heart stopped, while soon after, Mr Tricker suffered multi-organ failure.

After less than a week in hospital, doctors were able to diagnose Legionnaires' disease, a rare and deadly form of pneumonia contracted by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella pneumophilia bacteria.

There has been no known Legionnaires' case in Ipswich for at least a year.

The HPA, which is instructed by law to “protect the community against infectious diseases and other dangers to health”, contacted Mrs Tricker shortly after the medics' discovery.

But Mrs Tricker said: “I only ever received one phone call from the HPA. They asked if Brian had ever had any prior health problems and I said no. Then they asked if he'd been abroad and I told them he hadn't.

“I think the HPA has dealt with the case in an arrogant way.

“For eight weeks I was by his side in hospital. In that eight weeks, the HPA did not bother to come back to me to ask where he worked. I feel like they have ignored me completely.

“They told me it's a singled out case but it certainly isn't for me - I have lost my husband.

“It's been brushed under the table.”

Mrs Tricker has enlisted the help of Ipswich MP Chris Mole in trying to force the HPA into conducting a thorough investigation.

The health care assistant said: “I can't grieve because of this. Brian only died a month ago - I should not have to deal with this.

“You can't turn back time but I need answers.”

- An inquest into Mr Tricker's death was due to take place at Ipswich Crown Court today.

- We would like to make clear that Mrs Tricker was contacted by a reporter and did not contact the newspaper herself.

SUFFOLK Health Protection Team said it had been involved in the investigation into Brian Tricker's death but had found no source of infection or any connected cases.

In a letter to the coroner, the organisation said Legionella was not a notifiable disease.

But the letter continued: “We are informed by the laboratory and take appropriate action in each case.

“The Suffolk Health Protection Team was involved in the investigation because of Legionella test positive.

“We have investigated possible exposure but found no source of infection or, indeed, any other case connected with this patient.

“It was also established that there was no foreign or domestic travel prior to the two weeks of illness.”

Neither the Suffolk Health Protection Team or the Health Protection Agency were available for comment today.

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