Michael Myers, 72, died at Kendal Care Home on Burton Road on November 6, 2022 of complications from a malignant mesothelioma caused by “very regular exposure to asbestos dust”.
The inquest at the Cockermouth Coroner’s Court found that he was born in Dalmeny, Scotland and moved to Barrow with his parents at the age of three.
He had worked at Vickers Armstrong, Vickers Shipbuilding and most recently at BAE Systems in Barrow.
Deputy Cumbria Coroner Robert Cohen said Mr Myers, a “much loved family man”, treated his diagnosis of the disease in September 2021 with “amazing stoicism”.
A statement read in court by Claire Williams, Mr Myers’ niece, told how after his diagnosis Mr Myers told her: “No one is allowed to cry, it is what it is.”
Mr. Myers was caring for his wife June, who was diagnosed with severe epilepsy at the age of 42, and after his diagnosis looked for a care home where they could both be placed together.
Ms Williams said of her uncle: “He was constantly on call for her (June), they spent a lot of time on holiday and regularly went on cruises abroad.
“He worked hard and saved hard so they could go on holiday and spared no expense.
“Michael loved his cars and vacations and treated June like a princess and bought her whatever she wanted.
“[To the end]his main priority has never wavered, making sure June is taken care of.”
Kendal Care Home was the closest home they would take in together and the couple moved there in early 2022.
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Ms Williams added during the inquest: “He didn’t have the end of his life that he wished for.
“Kendal Care Home was shocking.
“They were self-financed, paying £11,000 a month for a couple.
“The food was inedible, the staff, some had English as a third or fourth language, they couldn’t read the care plans.
“They had gone from very proud people who had the best of everything to living in a space that looked more like a student life.
“The bathroom wasn’t cleaned, toiletries overflowed in the bins, there was no way to see you die.”
The inquest found that after Mr Myers died at 4.10am, care home staff called the police, which Mr Cohen called “wrong” and that there is no obligation to call the police if a person has an asbestos-related illness dies.
The inquest found Mr Myers was left in his room with his wife and brother for seven hours after his death before his death was confirmed by a clinical doctor on duty.
Mr. Cohen said: “Protecting the dignity of the elderly and, in certain cases, the dying is one of the most important things.
“And for me, that didn’t happen here.
“I have great sympathy and commend you (Ms. Williams) – you are absolutely right to raise these matters.
“We must carry the message that keeping your family waiting for hours after Mr. Myers died without any real cause was utterly inhumane.”
Mr Myers was told by Kendal Care Home’s registered manager Graham Burrell he “had capacity” up until the last days of his life.
“All of his clinical care needs were met by the care team at Kendal Care Home,” said Mr. Burrell.
Mr. Myers’ wife died 12 weeks later.
Ms Williams said: “Before his death, as he began to deteriorate, she said, ‘He was my life’.
“They were together every day.
“She had no reason to fight to keep going.
“It was a broken heart (that killed her).
“She had no purpose in life after seeing her husband die like that.”