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Plea to help asthma research after death of Bridport teen
ANNA-LEE Kehoe’s mum Helen has called for more people to donate to asthma research in memory of her daughter.
Anna-Lee, 13, suffered asthma all her life and shortly before her death in July, 2011 she had a severe attack.
Paramedics treated her for two and a half hours.
But mum Helen, 42, knows that nothing could have saved her daughter on the day she died.
Her comments follow the inquest into her daughter’s death.
Helen said: “A lot of people don’t realise how bad asthma is.
“When she used to have an attack, she could have been doing anything. It comes on suddenly.
“You can’t really tell when it is going to happen. It so often affects children and there are quite a few who die. I would like to encourage people to support charities that do research.”
Helen also paid tribute to the ambulance and helicopter crews who came to help Anna.
She said: “They were brilliant.
“I just think everybody did what they could and that is some comfort to me.
“They were here quickly and did a really good job.”
Although the inquest revealed that at some point a resuscitation tube was in Anna’s stomach not her lungs Helen said she did not think it would have made any difference.
She also said she understood the need to gather all the medical evidence that meant the inquest took place so long after Anna’s death.
She said: “It hasn’t been easy and it’s been extremely stressful but I do understand they needed to do all the reports.”
Helen also paid tribute to her friends and family – she has three other daughters and a son and three grandchildren – who have helped her cope in the 18 months since Anna died.
“I would really like to thank everybody who has rallied round, they have been great.
“And Anna’s friends who did a lovely memorial for her at the youth centre.
“It is still hard to talk about her but slowly, slowly we are beginning to.
“We can now remember the things that made us laugh about her.
“She was a real character.
“Now the inquest is over it is like a weight has lifted.”
‘In our hearts when Anna-Lee collapsed we knew she was gone’
A TEENAGE girl collapsed and died following an asthma attack, an inquest was told.
Anna-Lee Kehoe, 13, suffered the sudden attack in her home in Queen’s Road, Bridport, on July 22, 2011.
Despite being treated by paramedics and taken by helicopter to Dorset County Hospital she died the next day, an inquest at County Hall in Dorchester was told.
Her mum Helen Kehoe described Anna-Lee as a ‘typical teenager’ and said she always spoke her mind.
She said: “Anna-Lee had asthma since she was born.
“On the day it happened her boyfriend Jacob was round with a few other friends and they were all upstairs playing on the X-box.
“Anna-Lee went to the bathroom and called out ‘mum I can’t breathe’.
“I went in to her and got her inhaler but she still couldn’t breathe and within a few minutes she had collapsed.
“I called 999 and they told me to start CPR, about five or ten minutes later paramedics arrived.”
Paramedics arrived within around five minutes and found Anna-Lee unresponsive before she went into cardiac arrest. The crew treated her on the scene with drugs, CPR and an intubation tube to get oxygen into her body.
Paramedic Tobias Rihm said the tube was checked and double-checked to ensure it was in the right place in her lungs.
Anna-Lee was flown by helicopter to Dorset County Hospital. On the flight a reading of her heart activity showed there was no pulse.
Dr Sean Santos, who took over care of her breathing at the hospital, discovered the tube was in her stomach instead of her lungs.
He said: “I immediately checked the position of the tube. The bottom was in the oesophagus, the displacement could have happened at any transfer at any point.”
Anna-Lee was later transferred to Southampton General Hospital where she died.
A post mortem report found the cause of death was cerebral hypoxia, lack of oxygen in the brain, due to acute asthma.
Pathologist Dr Sue Holden said: “All the findings of the post mortem were consistent with Anna-Lee having a severe asthma attack which caused her collapse. There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in her system.”
Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne said it was impossible to tell when the tube became displaced and gave a narrative verdict.
He said: “Anna-Lee died of natural causes in circumstances when a tube became displaced at some stage during necessary emergency treatment which included transfer by helicopter to the hospital.
“It is not possible to determine when this happened or if this contributed to her death.
“I extend my condolences to her family and am glad to see she has so many supporters who have come to this inquest.”
Anna-Lee’s family said they are grateful to everyone who tried to save her.
Aunt Susan Gardiner said: “In our own hearts when she collapsed we knew she was gone. It wasn’t her giving a pulse or heartbeat in the hospital, it was some intervention to try and save her life.
“We are grateful for what everyone has done.”
Extremely serious condition
Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: “Our sympathies go out to Anna’s family.
“Her tragic death unfortunately highlights the fact that asthma can be an extremely serious condition.
“One in 11 children in Bridport has asthma and the equivalent of a classroom of children die of the condition every year in the UK. “The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) ends in February and Asthma UK will use its findings to prevent more asthma deaths in the future. For the first time, this study has collected information surrounding every death from asthma in the UK throughout a 12-month period.
“Asthma UK can offer support and advice for families and schools who have been affected by asthma.”
Call specialist asthma nurses on the Asthma UK Adviceline on 0800 121 62 44 or visit asthma.org.uk.”