A coronial inquest has opened, examining the 2016 death of a popular Gunnedah rugby player.
The circumstances surrounding the death of then 37-year-old husband and father-of-three, Alex Costello will be investigated in Gunnedah Coroner's Court, and opened on Monday.
Mr Costello died suddenly on April 9 2016 after suffering chest pains.
The court heard prior to his death Mr Costello had been taken to Gunnedah hospital and had several tests but staff didn’t identify a heart problem.
He was transferred to the general ward, collapsed in the shower and could not be revived.
During the three day inquest, questions such as if Mr Costello should have been transferred to Tamworth from Gunnedah hospital, and if everything possible was done by the Gunnedah hospital will be answered.
Coroner Les Mabbutt told the court the inquest was designed to seek answers to those questions.
“My role is to find a cause and manner of Mr Costello’s death,” Mr Mabbutt said.
“I want to extend my condolences to Mr Costello’s family.”
Mr Costello’s wife Emma was one of several witnesses called to give evidence on Monday.
Mrs Costello told the court her husband had a family history of heart disease.
“I believe he knew the name and about the disease that was in his familiy’s history, but I never took it upon myself to learn about it,” Mrs Costello said.
“My husband was a non-smoker, he gave up when he was 19 years old and despised smoking.
“I was a smoker and often I would find he would throw my cigarettes away, such was his hatred for them.”
The mother-of-three told the court about the symptoms her husband had on the night of his death.
“When I got to the hospital he was very agitated ,” she said.
“I remember turning to the nurse and saying that’s not my husband.
“It was unusual to see him snap and act like that, hence my comment to the nurse.”
Mrs Costello told the court she was “worried and scared” throughout the night.
“My main focus was to try and keep him calm,” she said.
“The sweat was just dripping from him, he was so wet.”
Mr Costello’s brother-in-law Paul Wicks told the court about a phone call he had with Mr Costello shortly before his death.
“I called Emma’s phone at 8.12pm on the night and spoke to Alex,” Mr Wicks said.
“I asked him how he was doing and he told me ‘no f’ing good’.
“He just kept saying to me that they’re looking in the wrong spot, he said ‘it’s up here(Mr Costello’s chest) not down there’ (Mr Costello’s groin).
“He finished the phone call by saying ‘they’re letting me have a shower, I’ll call you back’ and then I said goodbye.”
The inquest will continue on Wednesday in Gunnedah Coroners Court.
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