Sunderland teenager died two years after fit caused brain damage

Sunderland Royal Hospital entrance
Sunderland Royal Hospital entrance
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A TEENAGER died two years after a diabetes-related fit left him with severe brain damage.

Ross Richards was just 15 when his blood sugar dropped so low that he collapsed at the home he shared with his grandmother in Ryhope, Sunderland.

Some vomit went into his lungs, causing breathing difficulties and circulation problems, which led to massive brain injuries. He was left needing round-the-clock care and feeding through a tube in his stomach.

Two years later, he developed pneumonia and died last August at a hospital in Dewsbury, near to his specialist care home.

An inquest in Sunderland heard Mr Richards had not eaten on the day he had the diabetic fit. He had also been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis the night before.

Pathologist Dr William Lawler told the hearing specialist neuro-pathologist Dr Daniel Du Plessis had carried out tests on Mr Richards.

He said: “People with Type One diabetes need insulin for their blood sugar to be kept at normal levels. Without it they will die.

“A balance has to be struck between the amount of insulin and the blood sugar levels.

“There are times when insulin is given and for whatever reasons the individual does not take an adequate amount of food in and the insulin causes the blood sugar level to fall.”

Paediatric consultant Dr Karen Horridge was on duty at Sunderland Royal Hospital when Mr Richards was brought in on May 13.

She said Mr Richard’s grandmother found him at their home in Roselea Avenue at about 6.30pm and gave him insulin and diabetic medication before paramedics arrived.

He was initially treated in Sunderland, before being moved to a specialist unit in Newcastle.

Dr Horridge said: “It became clear quite quickly he had suffered quite major brain damage because of the events that day.”

Coroner Derek Winter said it was “only right” that the death of any young person was thoroughly investigated.

He recorded a verdict of natural causes. The cause of death was given as pneumonia, hypoxic ischemic and hypoglycemic brain injuries.

Twitter: @janethejourno