Nottingham boy, 13, died after playing football with friend, inquest hears

Kellum Thomas died in June 2021 in Nottingham Credit: BPM Media

A 13-year-old boy with a history of heart problems died when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest after playing football with a friend in Nottingham, an inquest has heard.

Kellum Thomas died on 9 June 2021 at Queen's Medical Centre in the city. He had suffered a previous cardiac arrest in 2016 and had been fitted with a monitoring device - although this had not been working for eighteen months after its batteries ran out.

Doctors decided to double his medication in March 2021 but the prescription did not arrive until after he had died, Nottingham Coroner's Court heard.

When Kellum returned home to Top Valley, his mum, Jodie Wilson, "heard a bang" and found him collapsed on the floor. In her findings, coroner Dr Elizabeth Didcock explained that Jodie "immediately started CPR and called for an ambulance, with a paramedic arriving promptly".

Despite attempts to save him he died later that night. Following his cardiac arrest in 2016, Kellum was fitted with a cardiac monitoring device which the court heard was the "best way to monitor carefully his heartbeats and rhythm".

Kellum Thomas had been treated at Birmingham Children's Hospital Credit: BPM

Data from the device showed clusters of abnormalities, however, there was no data for eighteen months between the 19 September 2019 and 16 February 2021 due to the device's battery running out and needing to be replaced. 

Kellum was referred by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to Dr Vinny Bhole at Birmingham Children's Hospital after his first cardiac arrest.

When asked why a replacement monitor took so long, Dr Bhole explained there was only one person in the whole of the Midlands to carry out the replacements. He added that the Covid-19 pandemic was a factor in the delays.

Dr Bhole also revealed for non-urgent cases for children under 16, such as Kellum, there is "a waiting list currently of over a year for the whole Midlands". 

Following the evidence given in court, coroner Dr Didcock is writing a Prevention of Future Deaths report to the chief executive of Birmingham Children's Hospital. 

She said she is doing this due to the issues the service has with capacity and waiting times. The chief executive will then have 56 days to respond to the coroner and explain what they plan to do about her concerns.

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