Undiagnosed conditions caused St Albans architect’s death

PUBLISHED: 13:33 25 February 2011

Hatfield Coroner's Court

Hatfield Coroner's Court


AN inquest has heard that an architect died from heart failure brought on by undiagnosed medical conditions.

Richard Butcher, 66, had appeared fit and well when he attended a Burns Night celebration at Harpenden Rugby Club with his wife on the evening of January 28 this year.

On arrival back at their home in Gainsborough Avenue he went to sleep as normal but at around 8am the following morning Mrs Butcher noticed that her husband’s breathing pattern had become abnormal and his face had changed in colour.

She immediately called 999 and carried out CPR under the instruction of the emergency service operator until the arrival of paramedics.

Mr Butcher’s heart was brought back into operation but he suffered another cardiac arrest at the QE2 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City and, although he was revived again, there was no brain activity left and he was pronounced dead the following day.

Deputy Coroner Graham Danbury explained that Mr Butcher had no known health issues, had lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle and wasn’t under any stress at work.

But a post mortem revealed evidence of bronchopneumonia, heart disease and fatty changes in the liver and Mr Danbury recorded the findings in his verdict of a natural death at the inquest yesterday (Thursday).

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