Tragedy of Down’s boy

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A FATHER and medics battled in vain to save the life of a Down’s Syndrome boy after he suffered a heart attack, an inquest heard.

The court was told that 15-year-old Scott Armstrong had been a bubbly character and the assistant deputy coroner paid tribute to his parents for the unerring level of loving care they gave him throughout his short but “very happy, lively, life.”

Although Scott, a pupil at Hope Special School, had quite significant learning difficulties, he was able to communicate easily with his mum and dad Lorraine and Kevin with words, signs and gestures. He was also able to let medics know when he was feeling unwell or troubled.

The Bolton hearing was told that Scott felt ill on returning home to Cheetham Grove, Worsley Mesnes, after a trip in the family caravan and later started vomiting.

He spent the weekend quietly watching television after they gave him a dose of Calpol medicine and plenty of fluids.

But unusually they found Scott reluctant to get out from under the duvet and get ready for school on the Monday morning.

He then cried out for his mum at the top of the stairs and when she arrived to give him a hug, trembling he collapsed in her arms.

Scott had blue lips and didn’t appear to be breathing.

Mr Armstrong desperately and repeatedly performed CPR until paramedics arrived and took over.

Wigan Infirmary doctors finally abandoned attempts to re-start his heart after more than one hour 20 minutes.

Coroner Alison Mutch recorded a verdict that Scott died from natural causes following a cardiac arrest caused by clots from a double deep vein thrombosis blocking his lungs.

A post-mortem examination also found there was evidence of a bacterial infection in his heart which may have explained his lethargy.

Wigan Infirmary consultant in emergency medicine Dr Mueed Ahmad said there was no cardiac output when Scott arrived at the hospital. They immediately intubated him and gave him adrenalin injections but although these resulted in briefly re-starting his heart, it then arrested again shortly afterwards.

A decision was finally taken to stop resuscitation after more than one hour and 25 minutes of trying.

Paediatric pathologist Dr Stefania Bitetti said that the acute condition had developed in Scott’s body very quickly and there were no external signs to warn his parents that he may have been facing a fatal episode.

She said that the deep vein thrombosis condition was relatively common in adults - but very rare in children.

Dr Bitetti said: “He was clearly a well cared for child and there was nothing for his parents to spot which could have told them what was to follow.”

Coroner Alison Mutch said: “It is clear to me that Scott meant the world to both of you. Through everything that has been said I am able to say that he was a really well looked after little boy during his short but very happy life and you did everything you could for him when he was taken ill.

“You had no way of knowing that he had an obstruction in his lungs from the deep vein thrombosis.”