Max Clifford did not always take pills, inquest hears – BBC News

Max Clifford

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Max Clifford was serving an eight-year prison sentence for historical sex offences

Disgraced celebrity publicist Max Clifford did not always take his medication properly before he died of heart failure, an inquest has heard.

Clifford, 74, collapsed at Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire, where he was serving an eight-year sentence for historical sex offences.

He died at Hinchingbrooke Hospital near Huntingdon on 10 December 2017.

A doctor has told an inquest Clifford “wasn’t always taking his medications at the correct doses, if at all”.

Prison GP, Dr Monica Chambers, said: “Prisoners are the same as the rest of the population. Many people hate taking tablets.”

She did not comment on whether this would have affected his health.

At the start of the hearing, Cambridgeshire’s assistant coroner, Simon Milburn, said Clifford’s death “could not have been prevented” but the inquest would examine “whether there were missed opportunities to provide an earlier diagnosis”.

‘Short of breath’

Dr Chambers said Clifford first reported shortness of breath in July 2017, and was referred to a cardiologist at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which told the prison his “heart failure came on gradually” and began further investigations.

By 6 December, cardiac AL amyloidosis – a serious condition caused by a build-up of abnormal proteins in organs and tissues – was diagnosed.

He was referred to hospital two days later and Dr Chambers visited him in his cell as he was too unwell to go to the prison’s healthcare unit.

She said he was short of breath and needed help to put his trousers on before an ambulance took him to hospital.

Clifford died of congestive heart failure two days after his collapse.

Dr Chambers said Clifford had missed one hospital appointment, that he had been told about at short notice, as it clashed with a legal appointment.

When asked by Kimberley Aiken-Barre, representing Clifford’s family, about the quality of the prison’s healthcare Dr Chambers said she thought the prison’s patients “get a much better standard of healthcare than anybody does on the outside”.

In May 2014, Clifford was jailed after being convicted of a string of indecent assaults on women and young girls.

Clifford continued to protest his innocence, but following his death his conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal in April.

The hearing continues.

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