Harold Hill teenager Brad Baldwin died from natural causes coroner finds - but family still have questions

�A 16-year-old from Harold Hill died of natural causes, a coroner found – but his family still have questions.

Brad Baldwin, of Priory Road, died at the home of his maternal grandparents in Basildon on January 14.

He was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was five, and also suffered from scoliosis and cardiomyopathy – a form of heart disease – the inquest in Chelmsford heard last week.

Assistant deputy coroner Tina Harrington found that the cardiomyopathy caused his death, but was unable to confirm why he had a split and bleeding tongue when he died.

The inquest heard that he was spending the weekend at his grandparents’ home and began complaining of stomach and chest pain and breathing difficulties at about 4.30pm.

His grandparents called for an ambulance and a rapid response vehicle showed up with Jenny Sarah MacKay, a paramedic based at Basildon Ambulance Station.

She told the inquest that Brad’s condition rapidly deteriorated after her arrival, with the teenager saying he couldn’t breathe.

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Ms MacKay broke down in tears and said: “He looked at me and said that he thought he was going to die.”

While she was trying to give him oxygen, she was speaking to Brad’s mother Lisa O’Flynn on the phone.

At the inquest Mrs O’Flynn said to her: “When I spoke to you on the phone you reassured me and said nothing would happen and you would bring him to me – that wasn’t what someone in your position should have done is it?”

Ms Mackay said: “At the time I spoke to you I thought I was going to bring him to you. I’m sorry.”

Mrs O’Flynn and her husband questioned ambulance delays and said that they had managed to drive to Basildon Hospital from Romford and arrive before Brad’s ambulance.

Nicholas Jones, a manager at the East of England Ambulance Service, said that the first responder had arrived at the home within the trust’s target time, but that three cardiac arrests had occurred in the area.

Dr Marian Malone, of Great Ormond Street Hospital, who carried out a post-mortem, said that she didn’t think the earlier arrival of an ambulance would have saved his life.

She said that with his cardiomyopathy, Brad had been “living on a knife edge” – as he had extensive scarring of the tissue in his heart, which only showed up under a microscope.

She said: “It’s really only a matter of time before the heart wouldn’t be able to operate and sudden death is not uncommon with this particular condition.”

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