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Robert McIndoe stabbed himself to death over 'awful' tinnitus from Them Crooked Vultures gig
A ROCK fan who developed tinnitus after going to see Them Crooked Vultures stabbed himself to death following "shameful" NHS delays in treating him, an inquest heard.
Robert McIndoe, 52, from Sydenham, was left with maddening ringing in his ears after going to see the supergroup – featuring Nirvana’s Dave Grohl, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, and Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age – in June 2010 and endured three months of insomnia.
Despite repeated attempts to get treatment, he was still suffering desperately and stabbed himself in the heart three months later, Southwark Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday.
The inquest heard Mr McIndoe, a management consultant, had visited two GPs, including a private Harley Street specialist, and three different hospitals in the months leading up to his death on October 29.
The day after the Brixton Academy gig, the married father-of-two told his wife Shirley that he was "cross" with himself for not taking ear plugs but thought the noise would subside and that his friend he had been with also had ringing in his ears.
Yet the noise continued and he was diagnosed with "adjustment disorder". He was due to begin treatment when he died.
The appointment letter to see an ear, nose and throat specialist arrived three days after his death on November 1.
Mrs McIndoe said: "It was all too late by then.
"He was so stressed - as far as Robert was concerned, he never heard back from anyone."
She said her husband had walked round three hospitals asking to be seen.
A fortnight before he died, Mr McIndoe attended A&E at Lewisham Hospital, where a doctor prescribed him sleeping tablets and promised to fax his GP for an appointment the following day.
But when he visited his surgery, the Wells Park Practice in Sydenham, he was told that no note had been received, the court heard.
Mrs McIndoe said: "He came away from that appointment really, really distressed - and felt the GP didn't believe him and was treating him like a malingerer."
The day after the appointment, on October 19, he left a suicide note before taking an overdose of the sleeping tablets at the family home in Sydenham Park Road.
His wife said: "He said he hadn't wanted to wake up because he couldn't bear the thought that he was no good to us.
"He just wanted to sleep and not be suffering.
"They kept him in hospital for three days and I thought that had been the low point, and we were moving forward."
The court heard Mr McIndoe had tried treating himself with alternative therapies, including acupuncture, and even considered permanently deafening himself by having his auditory nerve cut.
Mrs McIndoe said: "He was very distressed, saying he didn't think he could go on.
"It was awful, he looked terrible, and he just felt so bad all the time.
"He was desperate that it was never going to change - he didn't know if he could live like this."
Derek Nicoll, head of clinical pathways for South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, admitted there were failings in communication between the agencies and staff.
Mr Nicoll said there has since been an audit of procedure and changes made.
Recording an open verdict, coroner Dr Andrew Harris said: "There were failings in his care but I cannot include in the verdict that overall care failed him without having evidence of causation.
"Having said that, the fact that this man repeatedly requested referral and walked across London from hospital to hospital, paid for private consultation, was seen by an ENT specialist and a psychiatrist, but had not started treatment three months after damage to his ears, is a shameful reflection of professional communications and access to services in the NHS."
He said he could not record a verdict of suicide because there was no evidence of intent on that day.
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