A FAMILY will never know why a “fit and healthy” 27-year-old dad from South Tyneside died.
Ross Young was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital in April after his fiancée, Tracey Donaldson, found him unconscious at their home in Fallow Road, South Shields.
Ms Donaldson, who has a 10-month-old baby, Sonny, with Mr Young, had thought he was asleep, but called an ambulance when she was unable to wake him.
He was put on a ventilator at the hospital’s intensive treatment unit but doctors had to break the news to his family that he had suffered brain damage, which was so serious he had no chance of recovery.
He died three days after being admitted, on April 18. It would have been his 28th birthday two days ago.
Yesterday, South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney determined the tragedy was the result of natural causes.
Mr Carney said Mr Young had been out with friends the day before and Ms Donaldson found him on the sofa in the morning, having left him watching TV the previous evening.
Mr Young died of hypoxic encephalopathy – a condition in which the brain is starved of oxygen – and cardiac arrest.
Mr Carney said no post mortem examination was required to determine the medical cause of Mr Young’s death because scans carried out at the hospital had revealed the answer.
He also said a routine toxicology test had revealed alcohol in his system, but not a fatal amount.
The tests found a “therapeutic level” of anxiety medication Diazepam, which had been prescribed to him.
Doctors say the drug was being used “properly and as prescribed” and that the level in his system, even mixed with the alcohol, was not enough to cause his death.
Mr Carney said: “There was nothing found in this young man’s blood that shouldn’t have been there. He had a measure of drink, but there was nothing to suggest that this, or his medication, would have caused the death.”
He added that the toxicologist would have informed him if drugs or alcohol had been the cause of death, but that they “simply had not”.
Mr Carney also said that Mr Young was above the drink-drive limit, but this would have only been an issue if he had intended to drive.
He said: “People of any age can have a cardiac arrest, it is a natural phenomena. There’s nothing to suggest, and we don’t know, there was anything wrong with his heart, and we didn’t do a post mortem as we had a CT scan to tell us the cause of his death.
“An event like this is unusual in a man so young, and, yes, he had a drink and, yes, he was on medication, but none of that is being presented to me as the cause of his death.”
Mr Young’s father, Gez Young, said his son had been to the hospital a couple of months before his death complaining of pains in his legs and hands, and high blood pressure.
The family believe Mr Young may have had an undiagnosed and underlying condition.
The inquest also heard Mr Young had been involved in a minor road collision the day before he had been found unconscious, but that this had not contributed to his death.
After the inquest, Mr Young Snr, 48, said: “Ross was a very much loved member of our family; a son, brother, fiancé, and dad to his baby boy, Sonny.
“We are devastated and heartbroken he will never get the chance to see Sonny grow up.
“We would like to emphasise there were no illegal drugs in his body and put a stop to rumours on the street that have caused our family distress.
“It is possible Ross may have had an underlying medical condition we were unaware of, but we will never know.”
He added: “We will never get over losing Ross but we are concentrating on making sure his baby, Sonny, has the best possible upbringing.
“He will always be reminded, so that he never forgets his dad. There was a huge turn out at his funeral, which just goes to show how loved he was.”
Finding: Natural causes