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Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Greek doctors blamed for Briton's death
Rhodes in Greece
The Briton had gone to Rhodes to work as a barman
The family of a 24-year-old British man who fell from a balcony in Rhodes are blaming the actions of Greek doctors for his death.

Christopher Rochester from County Durham remained conscious after his fall but died later in Rhodes Town Hospital.

But a coroner's spokesman said that a post-mortem examination performed in England showed that Mr Rochester, from Chester-le-Street, should not have died from his injuries.


The pathologist has indicated that if the injuries had been treated properly we wouldn't have been here today

Coroner's spokesman

He indicated there were discrepancies between the findings of the post mortems performed first in Greece and then in England.

Mr Rochester's family, who attended a news conference in the city of Durham, said doctors at the hospital in Rhodes diagnosed him as having suffered a broken spine - but that he had no such injury.

Wrongly diagnosed

A spokesman for North Durham coroner, Andrew Tweddle, said: "The pathologist has indicated that if the injuries had been treated properly we wouldn't have been here today."

The dead man's brother, Keith Rochester, 25, told the news conference how his brother had joined him in the resort of Faliraki to work as a barman in a nightclub for the summer season.


Christopher Rochester and his girlfriend
Christopher Rochester with his girlfriend
The pair had been together for four days when his brother, a former design student, fell from a balcony where they were staying in the early hours of the morning on 11 June.

Keith Rochester said his brother remained conscious after the fall and was able to speak.

He was screaming in pain when he got to hospital but staff seemed to do nothing to help him, he said.

Blaming the actions of the doctors, he said: "It has not been the fall itself that brought about my brother's death but the negligence of the hospital in failing to treat what should not have been a life-threatening injury."

Mr Rochester said the post mortem perfomed on his brother at at Dryburn Hospital in England established that his brother's back was not broken, but was in fact in a muscle spasm.

Mr Tweddle's spokesman said the Greek authorities attributed Christopher Rochester's death to hypo-volaemic shock - where the blood supply shuts down in the arms and legs leading to death."

Family nightmare

The dead man's step-father George Cummings, 41, his brother's girlfriend, Maggie Jones, 30, and their cousin Fleur Rochester, the family solicitor, were also present at the news conference.

Mr Cummings said Christopher Rochester's death had been a nightmare for the family.

"It is so painful, we want justice and we will get it," he said.

An inquest into Mr Rochester's death was opened and adjourned on Tuesday.

The family is now being assisted by local MP Giles Radice to carry out further inquiries.

Mr Rochester's funeral will be held in Chester-le-Street on Thursday.

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