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Man died after attack of asthma.

Byline: By Matt Casey

Coroner rules out food poisoning in sudden death

A man's death within hours of complaining of a stomach upset was not the result of apparent food poisoning, a coroner decided.

Social worker Matthew Stewart, 30, of Sunderland, was visiting friends in Windsor, Berkshire, when he collapsed with an acute asthma attack and died, an inquest heard.

The hearing at Windsor Guildhall was told that Mr Stewart's inhaler had run out when the attack began on July 10 this year.

Berkshire coroner, Peter Bedford, heard that on that afternoon Mr Stewart, his friend Paul Bryant and Mr Bryant's girlfriend had eaten a meal of breaded mushrooms, scampi and chips at a restaurant.

On their way home the three complained of stomach upsets and returned to Mr Bryant's home in Windsor to lie down.

While Mr Bryant suffered only discomfort and was later feeling well, Mr Stewart appeared to have more serious symptoms but was in good spirits, laughing and joking.

But later that evening Mr Bryant went outside to find his friend gasping for breath.

The inquest heard that Mr Stewart had told another friend, Tim Clare, that his inhaler had run out.

A report by pathologist, Dr Mufeed Ali, showed there was some evidence of staphylococcal gastroenteritis but that this was not a cause of death, the coroner said.

Instead, the coroner told the court, evidence of water in the lungs and collapsed alveoli underlined respiratory failure as a result of an asthma attack as the cause of death. Tests were carried out on samples from the restaurant where Mr Stewart dined that afternoon but nothing was found.

Mr Bedford said: "The food consumed by Matthew Stewart, Paul Bryant and his girlfriend was not a source of the food poisoning and no recommendations were made concerning the restaurant in question.

"The pathologist was convinced that the cause of death which was confirmed in the post-mortem examination was effectively an asthma attack causing respiratory failure.

"I am convinced from that evidence that the appropriate conclusion for me draw is that Matthew's death was, sadly, natural causes."

The coroner said he had deliberately not given the restaurant's name in open court as it had been exonerated.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2005
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