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Inquest unable to determine death of Downs Syndrome patient

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

An inquest into the death of 27-year-old Downs Syndrome patient Jamie Appleby, from Denbigh, Denbighshire, has been unsuccessful in determining the cause of his death. Mr Appleby died at the Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan in November 2005 two days after he was admitted.

It was heard that Mr Appleby’s condition had significantly deteriorated in the week leading up to his death after he suffered a stroke. Coupled with declining respiratory pneumonia and clots within the lungs, it is believed that this “exacerbated his terminal decline” and caused his subsequent death.

Not possible to determine exact cause

Mr Gittins, coroner for north Wales, east and central, ruled that it was not possible to determine the exact cause of Mr Appleby’s death due to such a number of possible contributory factors. He concluded that it was “probable” that an earlier collapse had led him to develop aspiration pneumonia, and also noted that where his epilepsy was recognised by medical staff at Glan Clywd Hospital, it was also “probable” that he did not receive his anti-epileptic medication during his time in hospital. Both of which could have contributed to his death in 2005.

Mr Gittins apologised for the critical delays in holding the hearing, saying he was faced with ‘unrelated circumstances’. Mr Appleby’s family did not blame the coroner for the delays.

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