'Healthy' girl, 17, who died after collapsing in the shower may have suffered from electrical fault in the heart, inquest hears
Pathologist says Amy suffered sudden cardiac death, possibly caused by an electrical conduction problem of the heart
16:53 GMT, 21 August 2012
Amy was described as being 'fit and well' the week before she died
A teenage girl who collapsed while she was taking a shower is thought to have died from an unknown electrical problem with her heart, an inquest heard.
Amy Kirkby, 15, had no history of medical problems but after she was found unresponsive in the bath on September 2 last year and despite desperate efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead the same day.
An inquest heard today that a pathologist’s post mortem results came back negative but that the most likely cause of the youngster’s death was an electrical conduction problem of the heart.
The hearing was told how Amy’s mother Joanne had returned from work to their home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, around 4pm after being unable to contact her daughter.
Her fears were allayed when she found her younger daughter Lucy there who told her mum that Amy was in the shower and that she had left a note. The short note was signed ‘Ames ‘and had a smiley face drawn on it.
But it was when she went to check on Amy that her mother found her lying face down in the bath with the shower running.
After calling for help her neighbour, retired teacher Falko Rech, came to her aid and began CPR until the ambulance crew arrived.
Amy was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, where she was pronounced dead less than 90 minutes after she was found in the bath.
The most likely cause of death according to pathologist Dr Mudher Al-Adnani was sudden cardiac death, possibly caused by an electrical conduction problem of the heart.
He told Doncaster Coroner’s Court in evidence that the results of the post mortem on Amy were negative and he could find nothing wrong internally or with an X-ray. He did note some external blistering on the chin and upper chest, similar to a scald. Dr Al-Adnani told the court that the problem wouldn’t necessarily show up in a post mortem.
Before he gave evidence the court heard that while on a camping trip a few days before her death Amy had complained of feeling dizzy on several occasions and had vomited once.
'One can only wonder if that was a possible sign, suggestion of an underlying heart problem,' said the pathologist.
Amy was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, where she was pronounced dead less than 90 minutes after she was found in the bath
Dr Al-Adnani told the court that there could possibly have been a genetic abnormality but no way to tell for sure. He added that a person 'could be very healthy, live their life to the full and then suddenly drop dead'.
Amy’s mother told the court that she had taken medication for an irregular heartbeat for about six months.
Investigating police officer, Det Con Nichole Russell, said that according to her friends, in the week running up to her death Amy seemed 'happy, fit and well'. She concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances in the case.
Coroner Nicola Mundy passed a verdict of natural causes and said that it was more likely than not that Amy’s was a sudden cardiac death.
She said: 'I do believe that is really all we are left with. In cases such as these they are often caused by an electrical conduction problem and that would not be seen in an autopsy.'
Miss Mundy told the court that while the dizziness and vomiting could be a sign of some cardiac problem, she also said it could be something completely different.
She also advised Amy’s family that it would be prudent for family members to be genetically tested in the wake of the tragedy.