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Boy, 15, died after being sent home with painkillers for severe chest pains; Euan Ellis was a known sufferer of a heart condition called Marfan syndrome - a genetic and sometimes fatal disorder - but despite this had not had a heart scan in four years.

Byline: mirror

A 15-year-old boy died after being sent home with painkillers for severe chest pains, an inquest heard.

Euan Ellis was a known sufferer of a heart condition called Marfan syndrome - a genetic disorder affecting the body's connective tissues.

Despite this, the teenager had not had a chest scan for four years.

Euan died suddenly at his family home in Plymouth in November, 2017.

The inquest into Euan's death held at Plymouth Coroner's Court heard how he went into hospital with chest pains, only to be sent home without having a scan on his heart and told to take painkillers.

Doctors were made aware of his Marfan syndrome but his notes at the A&E department showed no scans had been carried out since 2013, reportsPlymouth Live.

Euan was the third person in his family to die due to heart complications relating to the syndrome.

Speaking after the inquest, his mum Belle Mufford paid tribute to her "amazing boy".

"Everyone loved him and he loved everyone no matter who they were," said Belle.

"We only found out after he died just how popular he was with everyone at school.

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"He'd be the person that everyone went to for advice, we just didn't realise quite how loved he was by his friends.

"Euan was just everything to us, he was an amazing boy. He was very sporty and loved basketball and football.

"He also loved computer games, he played Rocket League on his Playstation and was obsessed with Pokemon GO.

"Euan would be out playing it all the time and knew all the Pokemon characters."

Euan came home from school during the afternoon of November 15 complaining of chest pains.

These pains increased over the next few days until Euan was taken into A&E at Derriford Hospital during the early hours of November 19, by which point he was "shaking with pain".

Having been seen by doctors, a decision was made not to give Euan a scan on his heart, despite the hospital being aware of his family history of Marfan Syndome and the associated risks of an aortic dissection.

In a statement read out at the inquest, Dr Ann Hicks, an emergency department doctor, said that Euan did not receive a scan due his pain having subsided and the potential exposure caused by radiation during the scan.

Although doctors were aware of Euan's history of Marfan syndome, his notes did not show that he hadn't had a scan on his heart since 2013.

"There were several aspects of Euan's presentation which led to the right decision at the time not to give him a scan," said Dr Hicks.

Instead he was sent home with painkillers and referred to his GP for a follow up appointment.

Euan visited the GP the next day where he was referred for an echocardiogram "in a few weeks time".

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GP Dr Ravi Harshey said that Euan "looked tired but did not appear to be in any discomfort" adding his surprise that a scan hadn't already been referred by the hospital.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Thin Thin Aung said in a statement that Euan had been prescribed beta blockers to help reduce the risk of an aortic dissection but hadn't liked taking them as "he was going through the adolescent phase and just wanted to be a normal teenager".

Euan's sudden death led to a serious incident clinical panel report to determine what could be learnt from his medical treatment.

Simon Polak, associate chief nursing officer, told the inquest that a number a recommendations had been made in the report including an improved system to allow medical records to be passed between different stages of care.

The medical cause of death was determined as hemopericardium, ruptured aorta and Marfan syndome.

Senior coroner Ian Arrow recorded a narrative verdict saying that he would be writing a prevention of future deaths report to University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust highlighting the recommendations of the serious incident review.

After the inquest, Ms Mufford called for improved care for people diagnosed with Marfan syndrome.

"The symptoms are not the same for everybody," she said. "I've lost three family members to this and can't believe my son was just sent home with some painkillers.

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"I want to tell other people with Marfan syndrome to be persistent and make sure they get exactly the help they need.

"I must also say a huge thank you to Euan's friends and his school - they have been absolutely amazing with everything."

Dr Phil Hughes, Medical Director at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, said: "We wish to reiterate our sincerest condolences to Euan's family.

"Following Euan's death we undertook our own serious incident investigation to establish what had happened leading up to and following Euan's attendance at the Emergency Department, and of course his care and treatment whilst in our Emergency Department. Throughout this process we were in close contact with Euan's family.

"Because Euan's death was unexpected an independent multi-agency panel was set up, to look into the circumstances surrounding his death. We actively contributed to this wider investigation which looked to establish a clear understanding of events that occurred leading up to and following Euan's attendance at the Emergency Department.

"We will wait to hear from the Coroner about his specific concerns and will respond with the assurances that he seeks.a"


Credit: Plymouth Herald

Euan's inquest was heard at Plymouth Coroner's Court
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Title Annotation:News,UK News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2019
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