Mother calls for education for asthma sufferers after son, nine, died from attack
Brown inhaler has a low dose of steroids but must be taken regularly to build up resistance in the lungsBlue inhaler works to open up airways during an attack, but can do little once airways close
His local GP practice has now stopped repeat prescriptions of inhalers
and opted to assess children each time to monitor their condition and compliance
18:48 GMT, 3 October 2012
A 'dynamo' boy of nine died from a severe asthma attack after he refused to let the condition spoil his love of playing with friends and family.
Joshua Platt had been diagnosed with asthma at the age of one but whenever he got out of breath during football matches or other games he would take his inhaler and then carry on playing.
Tragedy struck after Joshua returned home from his visiting his grandmother and he suffered a major attack. He tried to use an inhaler he was prescribed with to relieve the symptoms but his airways were already blocked.
Joshua Platt, nine, refused to let his asthma from stopping him enjoying life
He died later in hospital despite the efforts of doctors to save him. It emerged the youngster had become too reliant on his blue inhaler and didn't think he had to use a brown inhaler which prevented asthma attacks taking place.
Today his mother Joanna called for more awareness of asthma following an inquest into her son's death.
Mother-of-three Joanna said: 'I think Josh had become laid back about his medication and thought that because he had his inhaler to use if he had an attack, he didn't need to worry about the other inhaler that would prevent it in the first place.
'Everyone else was reminding him to take it but he was not aware of how important it was. I think children who have asthma need to be better educated about the importance of all their medication. Teachers and parents should be given more advice.
'Parents need to be made aware that whether you have got the asthma in control or not that this can still happen.
'They need to educate their children as well. A lot of people are so laid back about it and think that you can just rely on your blue inhaler but once those tubes close that's it.
'To other parents with asthmatic children all I can say is don't take the inhalers for granted and keep on your child's back about taking the brown preventer.
'Josh lived life to the full and his illness never stopped him. He was loved by so many people and had a lot of friends.'
Joshua was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital in February after having a severe asthma attack, but died
Britain's five-million-plus asthmatics are normally issued with two types of inhaler. The brown model contains a low dose of steroids and is prescribed to stop attacks from starting and it is thought that it works best if taken regularly to build up resistance in the lungs, with many people using it daily.
The second type, which is often blue, is filled with a drug that rapidly opens up the airways during an asthma attack.
The Oldham hearing was told Joshua who was prescribed with both inhalers led an active life taking part in camping, swimming, football, basketball, judo and playing with his younger sisters Demi-Rae, four, and two-year-old Macie.
If he ever felt out of breath he would use his inhaler and carry on and he would often accidentally leave it at his primary school.
On the day Joshua died, he woke up with a very mild cough and a “bit of a sniffle” but nothing his mother was concerned about. He helped Joanna tidy up before going to his grandmother's house for the afternoon of February 12.
He returned to his home in the Hollinwood area of Oldham at around 7pm and his mum gave him some Calpol children's medicine before he sat on the sofa and started to wheeze slightly.
Joanna said he had experienced worse symptoms in the past but he asked for his inhaler and started rocking himself backwards and forwards and asked for his back to be rubbed.
Joanna said: 'He was trying to take deep breaths while trying to talk to me at the same time but was struggling to do both. He was panicking and I was trying to guide him and try to get him to inhale slowly but he just couldn't.'
Joshua was taking puffs from his inhaler but they didn't make any difference. He became unconscious and his mum dialled 999 and tried to resuscitate him while waiting for the ambulance.
He was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital but was pronounced dead at 8.30pm.
Brown inhalers (left) are used for preventing asthma attacks, while blue inhalers are used during an episode
The inquest was told that although sudden severe attacks were common in those who did not manage their condition, the same could also happen to sufferers who think their illness is under control.
A post-mortem examination confirmed that Joshua died of an asthma attack and his family were told there was nothing they could have done to prevent the tragedy.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Abdul Rehman said a meeting between health professionals and police had been held following Joshua's death.
The group agreed that as a result Joshua's GP, based at the Hollinwood Practice in Oldham, would change procedures – offering more education to the families of asthmatics on how to manage the condition and risks involved.
Doctors would also stop repeat prescriptions of inhalers and opt to assess children each time to monitor their condition and compliance with the medication.
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes coroner Simon Nelson urged teachers, parents and GPs across the borough to ensure sufferers understand the importance of their preventative medication.
He added: 'Better education is hugely important. It doesn't surprise me at all to hear that Joshua was very laid back about his illness. Probably while everyone was fussing he was fussing less than anyone.
'Joshua was into everything and yet there was also a very tender side to him. I was particularly impressed with how he tidied up around the house.
'Everything I've heard about him is positive and that is a wonderful trait to have at the age of nine.
'I think at that age you feel that you are invincible – a bit like the superheroes that you look at in comics. It doesn't surprise me to hear that Joshua was very laid back about his condition.'