THE family of a man who died in hospital expressed their distress at not being able to see him before he died due to Covid restrictions, an inquest heard.

Paul Hartley, described as a man who “kept himself to himself” died at the age of 53 in Furness General Hospital on June 28, 2020, after almost a month on different wards, The Coroner’s Court in Cockermouth was told.

The Barrow resident was initially moved to the Covid ward on June 10, a day after his admission into hospital after he presented symptoms of the virus despite testing negative on multiple occasions.

He was later transferred to back to the gastroenterology ward where he continued to deteriorate and later died.

“He was friendly, polite, and somewhat a pacifist as he hated violence or cruelty to animals,” Alan Hartley, his brother, said in a statement.

“He enjoyed music, films, and computer games.

“For all his life he lived with his mother for whom he later became a carer for.

“He lost touch with his friends he had grown up with and was not keen on social events.

“He seemed quite happy with his life and never complained about anything. How he actually felt about his life is impossible to know.”

Mr Hartley went on to explain how they were not able to visit him in hospital or at their mother’s house as a result of the Covid restrictions, and the lack of knowledge about how he died was a frustration for the family.

Dr John Keating, who oversaw the gastro ward during Mr Hartley’s stay attended the court and explained that he was admitted following significant weight loss and lack of appetite, something he had previously been to the hospital with in 2015 and 2012.

He said that Mr Hartley weighed around 40-45 kilograms which was severely underweight for an adult male and that they treated him for vitamin deficiency to help his liver and kidney function, which he admitted may have been a cause for his cardiac arrest on June 24.

Dr Keating said that he would have started intravenous antibiotics on June 24 rather than a day later if he were in charge of his care at the time but said that other factors had to be considered by the registrar at the time.

End of life care was started two days later after Mr Hartley’s condition continued to deteriorate.

The pathologist gave the cause of death as sepsis due to bronchopneumonia and said that a contributing factor was liver cirrhosis and kidney function.

“Ultimately he died of natural causes,” coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw said in his conclusion.