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Farm worker's death was 'Bird Fancier's Lung' disease
A FARMER from Sandbach led ‘a super, family life’ before succumbing to an industrial lung disease, linked to his time spent working with poultry on farms in Cheshire, an inquest heard.
Coroner, Dr Geoff Roberts heard at Crewe Law Courts that Norman Woodward, of Abbey Road, spent his working life in dusty conditions on farms throughout the county.
Wife Heather Woodward said: “I remember once he came covered hand to foot in chicken muck.
“On occasions the silage tower would get blocked and he would have to go and find where the blockage was. All he would wear was his own cap, his boiler suit and his wellies,” she added.
Mrs Woodward said Norman had been badly affected by an accident on a farm in 1992, when a ten tonne slurry trailer he was helping attach to the back of a tractor fell on him, smashing the bone in his foot and up his leg.
“I lost Norman that day,” said Heather.
“He was never the same. He lost all the confidence in his life that day.”
In 2005 Norman was admitted to Leighton Hospital with a chest infection.
“He became very tired after that. He slept night and day. Many days I would find him asleep. He would be in the garden, he would be leaning over the wheelie bin. He had no energy to do anything,” said Heather.
Norman retired aged 64. He had been diagnosed with epilepsy at age 21 and was on medication to treat the condition.
Mrs Woodward described how her husband was continually short of breath.
His condition worsened in October 2011, when he collapsed and cracked two ribs while on holiday in Wales, but by November 17 he was on the road to recovery and expecting a discharge.
“He was chatting to my two younger grandchildren in hospital; being silly with them; just being granddad; being Norman,” said Heather.
Sadly, Norman’s condition deteriorated shortly afterwards, and Heather spoke to a nurse on the phone at Leighton Hospital.
“The nurse said: ‘all he wants to know is when you’re coming’. I didn’t read anything into that,” said Heather.
Norman died, aged 75, at Leighton Hospital on November 19 2011.
The inquest recorded his death recorded in two parts: Bronchial pneumonia due to extrinsic allergic alveolitis, and left ventricular hypertrophy leading to sudden coronary atheroma.
Coroner, Dr Geoff Roberts, said Norman’s illness was linked to his time working with poultry.
“We have heard that over the years Norman was exposed to a number of antigens and as a result, he developed this condition, allergic alveolitis.
Extrinsic allergic alveolitis is also known as Bird Fancier's Lung, or Farmer's Lung.
“What we don’t know is which of the allergies had most effect. We have heard very clearly that how, after continued exposure, he developed the lung diseases associated with his occupation, and there’s no doubt that these led him to his death. There’s a very clear association with Mr Woodward’s occupation and the development of his subsequent lung disease. He died of an industrial disease.”
Heather said: “Norman led a super life. We went driving; we often went walking with our two daughters. We led a super, family life.”