Woman who was one of youngest to have heart transplant died of natural causes, inquest hears

Beth Griffin was just 23 when she died from triple vessel disease on 12 September last year. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

A woman who was one of the youngest people to receive a heart transplant died after her health deteriorated, an inquest heard.

Beth Griffin had a heart transplant at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital in 1999 when she was six months old, but died in the same hospital last year.

The 23-year-old was admitted after experiencing chest pains, breathlessness and dizziness. She died on 12 September.

An inquest into her death found that she died of natural causes.

Ms Griffin's mother, brother and grandparents travelled from their home in Leeds for the inquest where it was heard that Ms Griffin had initially been admitted to Leeds General Infirmary on 20 August 2022.

Beth Griffin was one of the youngest people to receive a heart transplant when she was six months old. Credit: NCJ Media

A day later she was transferred to the Freeman Hospital and treated for pneumonia and was able to return home before the end of the month.

Shortly after, on 1 September she was readmitted to Leeds General Infirmary with chest pains and transferred back to the Freeman.

It was found that she was suffering triple vessel disease. This develops when major blood vessels supplying the heart become damaged or diseased and is an extreme form of coronary artery disease.

Despite being moved to the cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital, Ms Griffin's condition rapidly deteriorate and she suffered a cardiac arrest.

Ms Griffin, who worked as a carer, was resuscitated, but suffered a secondary cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated.

Coroner James Thompson said: "Beth's death was entirely a natural one in that she died from a naturally occurring disease, sadly in her case running its full course."

Mr Thompson added medical interventions did not save, but neither did it shorten it.

The rapid deterioration of Ms Griffin's case was said to be "unheard of" in the experience of the doctors treating her.

After the inquest had finished her mother Louise said: “I would like to thank Dr Adam McDiarmid [cardiologist consultant at the Freeman Hospital] for attending today to give his evidence. I am truly grateful for the care Beth received from the Freeman Hospital.”

She said the case was "tragic" but hopes other families will not experience the same thing.

She added: “I'd like to thank Danielle Herron [coroner’s secretary] for being so lovely and making me feel as much at ease as she possibly could for today.

"It's not something a mother of a 23-year-old should have to attend but like the coroner said today, I did my daughter proud.”

Beth and her mother Louise, who said she was a "beautiful girl" and will "never be forgotten." Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Following Ms Griffin's death in September, her mother wrote: "There are simply no words to explain the love for Bethany from everyone but most of all from me, her mum. I'm simply broken. I'm not ok, I'm totally broken.

"She will be sadly missed by her siblings, Tom, Jack, Ben and Bobbie. Beth was the most bravest, strongest, kindest, funniest, sometimes gormless - in a way that made us all laugh - but she really is the most beautiful girl ever.

"She was simply far too good for this world, Beth will always be loved and never forgotten.

"I just want to thank everyone for their kind words, messages, flowers and for the love and support you have all shown me and my family - I'm overwhelmed with the amount of love and support."

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