Warning: upsetting content…
A coroner concluded that 24 year old Sarah Davies died of natural causes due to unknown origin this week. She was found dead in the Tarry Hill ‘care’ ‘home‘. The pathologist originally said she died of SUDEP (sudden death through epilepsy) but changed his mind during the inquest and said her death was unexplained. He admitted he hadn’t sent samples of Sarah’s brain for further analysis as he should have done. Sarah’s family are understandably distraught to not get any answers from her inquest. [Matt O’Donoghue live-tweeted the whole hearing. It’s harrowing reading. And uncannily similar to LB’s inquest.]
When it emerged there were serious omissions on the part of the pathologist at Sarah’s inquest I was pitched straight back to the week after LB’s death. That baking, baking, long, hot summer when our lives were shoved into a black hole of insensible grief, horror, anger and incomprehension.
Charlotte, our newly appointed solicitor, working with INQUEST, advised us to make sure the pathologist followed the guidelines for patients with epilepsy. Unimaginable phone calls. A house full of people. Flowers. Tears. And terrible decisions to be made. He hadn’t. He hadn’t? They were ‘just guidelines’. I still can’t write much about this episode.
Some emails from this time …
The reason I mentioned a second post-mortem is because the current cause of Connor’s death is unascertained and it may be that a different pathologist could assist in providing further clarification, or it could be that Connor’s case is one in which the post-mortem examination itself cannot provide clear answers. I am sorry to be so blunt but I want to be sure that you can make an informed decision. (received 10.7.13)
In terms of a second autopsy, Connor has been moved to the funeral directors and we’re reluctant (though would if it would make a difference) to have a second postmortem. (sent 11.7.13)
I did say to the coroner that the guidelines are written with a view to persuading family members who may be resistant for whatever reasons to the sampling of the brain tissue and we weren’t consulted. (sent 12.7.13)
After a bit of a battle with the coroners office because they were reluctant to do anything, they’ve taken the brain tissue sample and Connor is now back at the funeral directors, thank goodness (my levels of what is ‘good’ are so low after this latest mess up). (sent 12.7.13)
When LB died I’d been blogging about him and we were given advice via twitter about what steps needed to be taken. I’ve not revisited the failed post-mortem thing since. I can’t imagine how Sarah’s family must feel. No answers because essential tests weren’t conducted.
Because Sarah and LB’s (and many other) lives simply don’t count. And in death they aren’t worthy of the typical and expected scrutiny applied to others.
It’s inhumane families have to fight to get answers in these circumstances. And, if they ain’t armed with the relevant info, the space to get answers or accountability is severely compromised by (further) crap actions by professionals. We shouldn’t be policing whether post-mortems are conducted properly. Or be consigned to a netherworld of no answers when this well documented process is cocked up by professionals on inflated salaries and no whiff of accountability.
I’ve not got a typical punchy demand some action end bit here. With a hefty swear or two.There doesn’t seem any point. I’ll just end with another email extract from that week.
I think this search for answers/campaign or whatever it is or becomes, is important. (sent 12.7.13)