A grandfather-of-seven died days after pleading with hospital staff to give him methadone as he felt he was having withdrawal symptoms.
Barry Chevin was taken to A&E after developing shortness of breath, a fever and a leg infection.
An inquest heard the 53-year-old – described as a ‘lovable rogue’ by his family – had been using drugs for most of his adult life. He had been on a methadone programme, but his prescription had been halted as he’d missed an appointment.
Just hours before the ambulance was called, Barry had injected heroin.
In a statement, his daughter Tonya Chevin said the family went to Royal Stoke University Hospital to see him.
“We thought he was showing signs of drug withdrawal. At this stage, he was begging for help, asking for methadone,” she added.
She recalled how he was clammy and he looked like he was foaming at the mouth.
Staff assessed Barry and deemed it wasn’t necessary to provide medical treatment for the apparent withdrawal symptoms.
But he was treated for pneumonia using antibiotics.
It transpired that he was also suffering from septic shock and infective endocarditis – a condition that affects the heart valves.
He was taken to the critical care unit, but died on January 11.
The former labourer, who was from Sneyd Green but had no fixed address at the time of his death, had been on life support.
Dr Elizabeth Holt, a consultant at Royal Stoke, said: “He did not die due to withdrawal of drugs.”
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But his history of using drugs had placed a strain on his heart and contributed to the chain of events.
His cause of death was put down to multi-organ failure, infective endocarditis and intravenous drug use.
Dr Holt said: “It’s highly unlikely that any medical treatment would have altered the outcome.”
Speaking at the inquest, his mum Pat said: “Barry was a long-time drug addict. But he loved his family. He was a lovable rogue.
“The drug was too strong. That’s what took him. I tried to help him. Everybody tried to help him. But it was too powerful.”
North Staffordshire area coroner Emma Serrano recorded a narrative conclusion, saying the infective endocarditis led to the multi-organ failure, which was exacerbated by the use of heroin.