Houston Area Pediatric Specialists

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

UK Child Dies From Fatal Asthma Attack

We don't think of asthma as a cause of death in the modern world.  Unfortunately, it still happens even though it is almost always preventable.  Dr. Susarla

A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy died as a result of a serious asthma attack at his Millom home, an inquest heard.
Rylan Cosgrove, who was a Year Five pupil at Black Combe Junior School, died on February 21 this year.
The keen rugby player was taken by ambulance to Furness General Hospital but was already dead upon arrival.
The inquest into his death was told yesterday that he was only diagnosed with asthma in December.
Doctor Mohamed Anass Olabi told the hearing in Barrow Town Hall it was not unusual for children to be diagnosed with the condition a little later, but it was more common to have symptoms such as wheezing in their early years.
The pathologist’s post-mortem report confirmed acute asthma attack as the cause of death.
Dr Olabi said the report revealed no infection was found, but one of Rylan’s lungs was very full of mucus.
Dr Olabi said: “It’s prevented the lungs from functioning and this has caused him to have shortness of breath and not much oxygen going through the system and then he collapsed.
“I think the likelihood of what caused his sad death is lack of oxygen, which affected his heart and eventually he was not able to cope – this is the most likely.”
Dr Olabi had researched similar cases in children and studied a report, published in March this year, titled Risk Factors for Childhood Asthma Death.
The report looked at children who died of asthma in the UK between 2001 and 2006.
Half of the children who died were labelled as having mild to moderate asthma, and one was not even known to have asthma.
Most were aged 11 to 13.
Dr Olabi said: “There are some factors here that have similarities – had it late, not very unwell, admitted once to hospital, and then sadly have a very bad asthma attack.
“What I’m trying to say is, it is not unheard of.”
In 2009, 12 children aged 14 or under died in the UK from the disease.
Dr Olabi said he did not believe there was anything that could have been done differently to prevent Rylan’s death.
But he added: “It’s a sad case, but it does exist.
“And until we get full education for families and the health care people, we won’t be able to prevent this completely.
“There are 12 cases of asthma deaths in children every year and we still think, of these 12 cases, possibly half of them could be prevented, so lots of hard work needs to be done in that area.”
Mr Ian Smith, South and East Cumbria coroner, recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.
He confirmed a police investigation was carried out, but there was nothing officers were concerned about.

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