Did my gentle Barry have to die?

Daily Express tribute to Barry Gomer, who has died aged 71


The widow of a former Daily Express photographer has slammed hospital bosses, saying he died while waiting nine hours for life-saving treatment.

Marthe Gomer says husband Barry’s death was avoidable and wants to know why he was not given a vital drug when diagnosed with a blood clot.

Barry, who worked on newspapers for 50 years, including 28 at the Daily Express, was taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital A&E after he had difficulty breathing.

He was given a blood-thinning tablet and told he needed to be put on Heparin via an intravenous drip as quickly as possible, his wife said.

She added that Barry was never given Heparin.

Nine hours later he collapsed and died while sitting in A&E. Marthe said: “The consultant told me that the medicine Barry needed was, for some reason, not available in A&E.

“Who knows — if he’d been given it nine hours earlier the clot which killed him may have been reduced or dissolved.”

Marthe, 68, of Hatherleigh, Devon, said she had since been told by a medical expert that Barry, who died on January 25, should have been put on a Heparin intravenous drip as soon as the clot was diagnosed.

She added: “There was no reason why he should not have been hooked up to an IV immediately.

“Barry sat there patiently, waiting his turn. They didn’t even feed him.

“At around 9pm he asked a nurse if he could get something to eat as he had not eaten all day.

“As he stood up he then collapsed and died. I became more and more convinced that a nine-hour wait points to an avoidable death.”

Marthe added: “Barry was the nicest, most gentle man.”

A spokesman for the hospital said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Mr Gomer and extend our unreserved condolences to Mrs Gomer for her loss.

“We are in the process of completing a detailed investigation into the care Mr Gomer received.”

Former Daily Express picture editor MICK LIDBURY said: “Barry always produced the goods.”

ALAN PATTINSON said: I knew Barry from the age of 11 years. We were good friends at school. In the rough and tumble of an all boys school in London, Barry stood out as kind, gentle, funny and always cheerful. His nickname was Gomez. He kept us all amused by tapping out 60s pop tunes on his teeth. Barry was such good fun to be with and all the boys liked him. He drove up from Devon once to come to a school reunion and stayed with me.

We used to go to Charlton Athletic games together and he ended up taking photos behind the goal. Barry was a lovely man. I was so sorry to hear of his passing.

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre