North East Wales

Inquest into Timothy Cowen's Wrexham Maelor death

Timothy Cowen Image copyright Philip Cowen
Image caption Mr Cowen's family say he never suffered from cerebral palsy

The family of a disabled man who died after a routine operation have been told they can have an inquest, nearly a year after his death.

Timothy Cowen, 51, of Caergwrle. Flintshire died last May after a gall bladder operation.

An independent post mortem examination concluded the initial cause of his death was incorrect.

Betsi Cadwaladr heath board apologised for the investigation's delay and for not keeping the family updated.

It has now held its own inquiry and submitted its report to the coroner.

Mr Cowen had a number of medical conditions, which left him unable to walk or swallow, and was fed through a tube into his stomach.


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Media captionPhilip Cowen said his brother led a full and happy life despite his personal challenges

His family say an initial death certificate gave the cause of Mr Cowen's death as aspirational pneumonia was a consequence of suffering cerebral palsy.

However, they were unaware he suffered from cerebral palsy and requested an independent post mortem examination at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

It concluded the cause of Mr Cowen's death was bilateral extensive pneumonia.

The health board held an inquiry, which led to a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) investigation.

This looked at the circumstances leading up to Mr Cowen's death but it will not be made public until the inquest.

Mr Cowen's brother, Philip Cowen, said: "We are pleased that [coroner] Mr [John] Gittins is now able to hold the inquest and so what happened to my brother in the days before he died will be made public."

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has previously apologised for the delay in dealing with the investigation and for not keeping the family informed.

Last December the board said it was "undertaking significant work to ensure that any overdue cases are resolved as soon as possible".

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