A mother-of-two has told how her partner collapsed and died after eating dinner with her and her family on Christmas Day.
Sarah McManus, 37, said Dr Richard Male, 40, started feeling tired one and a half hours later and after her family had left.
She suggested he have a nap but later, while watching television, heard him being sick in the bathroom so rushed to his aid at his home in St Leonards.
She tried to revive him and administer CPR. Paramedics were called to the house but Dr Male died at the scene.
Sarah, who is a nurse, told the Observer how Dr Male had felt unwell the night before. He said he thought it was a fever.
A post mortem was being carried out this week.
It was not known exactly why he died. He had a rare genetic condition after being born with most of his organs located on the right side of his body.
Dr Male worked as a GP at The Plaza Surgery in Station Approach.
This week his devastated family paid tribute to him.
Sarah, who knew Dr Male for eight years, said: “His death was completely unexpected and has left us all in shock. Richard was feeling a bit unwell the night before and had a fever but put it down to a bug.
“Richard was a very positive person, really caring and compassionate. He went above and beyond for his patients.
“Our house is full of cards and flowers from his patients and I have received lots of letters from them praising him for the treatment he gave them.
“He always had time for everybody and would make you feel welcome.
“Richard really loved Christmas and presents. He was a big child at Christmas and admitted it as well.”
Sarah met Dr Male at the Conquest when she was working in the Intensive Care Unit.
They were together as a couple for two and a half years until his death.
Dr Male was born in Brixham, Devon, to Trevor and Madge Male.
Due to his medical condition he needed constant monitoring as a child and in his teenage years.
He attended Churston Ferrers Grammar School and studied medicine at St George’s Hospital in South London. After graduating he specialised in anaesthetics and then moved to Hastings to work at the Conquest Hospital.
Dr Male became a GP at The Plaza Surgery more than three years ago.
His mother said: “Due to the exposure he had to the medical profession during his formative years it became his ambition to give something back to the health service of which he cared so deeply. Richard made a very early decision to dedicate his life to helping others by becoming a doctor. Richard was a very caring, loving, loyal and passionate man who would always put the needs of his patients above everything else. He was able to empathise with the suffering of others and appreciated that giving patients time and understanding was just as important as any medication that could be prescribed.”
Malcolm Wright, business manager of The Plaza Surgery, said: “We were very saddened to learn of the death of our colleague Dr Richard Male over the Christmas holiday. He will be much missed by the patients and staff.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dr Male at this difficult time.”
His funeral will be held at 10am on Friday, January 17, at St Mary Star-of-the-Sea Church, High Street, Old Town. Donations in Dr Male’s memory can be made to Demelza Children’s Hospice, Arthur Towners Funeral Directors Ltd, 2 – 4 Norman Road, St Leonards.