HEALTH SERVICE Two more deaths are linked to listeria in NHS sandwiches
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
A RETIRED nurse and a former chemist may have been the victims of the NHS listeria sandwich scandal, it emerged yesterday, after a coroner said he would be reopening investigations into their deaths.
Beverley Sowah, 57, a retired Jamaican nurse, died at Manchester Royal Infirmary on April 26, while Enid Heap, 84, was pronounced dead at the same hospital on May 6.
In May, Nigel Meadows, the senior coroner for Manchester, concluded Mrs Sowah had died from sepsis, listeria and metastatic breast cancer, but was unaware that poisonous sandwiches could be to blame. Likewise, he did not initially open an inquest into Mrs Heap, believing that she had died of natural causes from a combination of septicaemia, listeria, pneumonia and idiopathic lung disease.
However, the coroner’s office was later informed that both had tested positive for the strain of listeria implicated in the outbreak.
At a brief hearing to open and adjourn the inquest into the death of Ms Heap, Mr Meadows said this left him in a “procedurally difficult position” and he would now have to seek permission from the Attorney General to apply to the High Court to hold a new inquest into Mrs Sowah due to new information coming to light.
A further hearing will be held on July 26.