Doctor says chances to treat funfair tragedy boy Bradley Logan were missed
The father of a schoolboy who collapsed and died at a funfair has spoken of how the family has endured "horrendous pain" since his tragic death.
Bradley Logan, from Lisburn, died from a rare heart condition called catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia as he played at a funfair in Newcastle in August 2015.
The 10-year-old had collapsed twice in the months leading up to his death and was taken to hospital on both occasions. However, doctors were unable to detect the condition.
At Belfast Coroner's Court yesterday, Bradley's father, Mark, said the loss had been terrible.
"It's been absolutely horrendous," he added. "Some days you don't know whether you are coming or going.
"The bad days are bad and the good days are bearable. It hurts. Our other children (Ben and Brooke) are suffering.
"Bradley was a good child, the peacemaker in the house. He was a very active child - he never sat still. He was the most active out of our children."
The child, a pupil at Harmony Hill Primary School and a grandson of former Linfield captain and manager Eric Bowyer, was described by his dad as a "normal, fit and healthy boy" who lived a very active lifestyle.
In June 2015, Mark was at his son's school sports day when Bradley collapsed after completing his first race.
"I was calling his name, but he was not responding," the father-of-three explained.
"He was rigid (and) his breathing was heavy, which concerned me."
An ambulance was called and Bradley was taken to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).
While doctors carried out a number of tests and took an ECG reading, they could not determine the cause of the episode.
Mark and Bradley's mum, Kylie, were assured by hospital staff that the schoolboy would be able to continue playing sports. However, almost two months later, after the family returned from a holiday in August, Bradley collapsed again.
He was taken back to the RVH, but the same tests were unable to detect a problem.
His parents were told he would be referred to the Rapid Response Clinic and would be seen within seven to 10 days, and medics again informed them he would be able to continue his active lifestyle.
Days later, however, while on a family trip to Pleasureland funfair in Newcastle, Bradley collapsed after walking up to the top of the helter skelter.
Witness Joanne Cullen was with her family at the funfair when she heard someone shouting for help.
Ms Cullen, who is trained in first aid, ran to the helter skelter, where she saw Bradley lying on his side in the recovery position. She described how the boy's face and neck were purple and blue and how he had stopped breathing. "I could see he swallowed his tongue," she said.
After she pulled his tongue up, Bradley took slow, deep breaths.
Amid the frantic scenes, CPR was performed until medics arrived at the scene.
Paramedic Anne-Marie Fearon told the coroner's court that when she arrived, the little boy had no signs of life.
A defibrillator was used on the youngster, but despite the best efforts of the emergency team, he could not be revived.
Dr Andrew Fitzsimmons, a consultant paediatrician at the RVH who worked on Bradley when he arrived at the emergency department, admitted there were missed opportunities following his two collapses.
He told the inquest that the emergency department had introduced new protocols for collapsed children since the tragic death.
"We have developed a pathway for investigating children who have collapsed," Dr Fitzsimmons explained.
"Their history is checked, and if there are any concerns or red flags, the child would be discussed with the cardiology team at the time.
"The cardiologist would decide what is done next and if they want to see them again.
"We designed this based on what the best way is to treat collapsed children."
"It has been agreed that we can phone them 24/7 for their advice for what investigations can be taken or what advice can be made."
The initiative has since been rolled out in hospitals across Northern Ireland, the inquest was told
Dr Fitzsimmons added: "A serious audit was carried out to see if anything could be improved in the months after his death."
When asked by Coroner Patrick McGurgan if he agreed there were missed opportunities by the hospital, Dr Fitzsimmons said "yes".
"The (Belfast) Trust accepts this," he added.
The court also heard that while an exercise stress test is used to diagnose Bradley's condition, the youngster had never undergone one.
The inquest is due to continue today.