Nottingham Coroners' Court.

Coroner questions whether pensioner should have been left to make decisions about his treatment

He became ill with prostate cancer and had a leg ulcer before he died


A reluctant patient's final days were laid bare as a coroner questioned whether he should have been left to make decisions about his treatment.

Terry Turner suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had lived in a special unit in Hucknall since 2003, a city inquest heard.

He became ill with prostate cancer and had a leg ulcer before he died aged 69 in the QMC last year, assistant coroner Dr Elizabeth Didcock was told. After death, he was found to have also had peritonitis and diverticular disease.

The hearing was told that he remained independent while living in the Orchard Street unit, which is run by Nottingham Community Housing Association. He shopped, cooked, went to the pub and voted in elections a month before he died on June 18 last year.

Family doctor Maria Dalton said that he initially agreed to have hormone treatment which would slow the advance of the cancer but not cure it. Later, he changed his mind.

The coroner asked whether Mr Turner had the ability to make decisions of that type.

The doctor said that an assessment had been made and he was "found to have capacity." Other experts were called in to help with the question whether "mental health issues contributed to an unwise decision," she said.

Appointments were made to see a cancer specialist but Mr Turner failed to turn up. He was also warned that without treatment, his leg ulcer could lead to death.

Dr Dalton told the hearing: "I pleaded with him to go to the oncologist and he said he would. I thought he was giving me lip service.

"It frustrated me that he refused our care. I tried on multiple occasions."

Support worker Catherine Cutts said that Mr Turner would have a cup of tea with staff on some days. On others, he would accuse them of being "nosy."

On the night before he died, he was "shouting in pain." The district nurse and GP were contacted and their receptionist arrived with medication in 15 minutes.

"I went straightaway with some water and a cup of tea and his antibiotics to try and work my magic. It didn't work. He said 'no.'

"At that point, I still thought it is his choice. Some days he was very sharp and some days made a decision where you thought 'um, that's not right,'" added Miss Cutts.

Later staff dialled 999 and an ambulance was called. Mr Turner died in hospital.

The inquest continues.