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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 13:10 GMT
No blame over heart woman's death
Coroner's report
Ms Alabi had to overstay her visa after falling ill
A coroner has decided no-one is to blame for the death of a Nigerian mother who died in hospital while waiting for a heart transplant.

Ese Elizabeth Alabi, 29, had overstayed her visa after falling ill. Doctors were not allowed to put her on the 'urgent' transplant list.

Coroner David Morris recorded a verdict of death from "natural causes".

Ms Alabi, from Grays, Essex, died at Papworth hospital, in May 2006, the inquest at Cambridge Shire Hall heard.

Mr Morris said: "I find that at no stage was there gross negligence or failure on the part of any person or institution."

I watched her slowly die before me
Abiodun Abe

The inquest, nearly two years after her death, heard how Ms Alabi remained in Britain after her visa ran out because she was dying from a heart problem.

Ms Alabi applied for discretionary leave to remain but Mr Morris said: "The degree of urgency or priority of determination was not immediately clear or appreciated."

The hearing was told that doctors at Papworth considered Ms Alabi "clinically appropriate" for a transplant but could not put her on the Group One "urgent" list.

Government regulations prevent non-EU nationals from being treated on the NHS.

Her partner Abiodun Abe said in a statement at the inquest last month: "I watched her slowly die before me. I strongly believe she could have been saved.

"She saw her babies on the Sunday before she died but she could only manage to touch their heads."

'Hearts are scarce'

Ms Alabi, who also had a two-year-old son, had been living with Mr Abe, who has indefinite leave to stay, in Grays, Essex.

She came to Britain in September 2005, pregnant with their twins, and intended to return to Nigeria for the birth.

But she began feeling ill and breathless and was told she was not well enough to fly home.

Her condition deteriorated and, in March 2006, Ms Alabi was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and told her only hope was a transplant.

David Lock, from Papworth Hospital said: "Hearts are a scarce, priceless, national resource. Prioritising is extremely difficult but it has to be done."

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