People have been asking what happened to Claire, she wasn’t obviously ill and had no history of anything that would cause her sudden death.
On 17th April, when I left the house at 0800 Claire was fine, her normal chirpy self. She sent me a text message at 1030 to say she was feeling really ill with a headache and vomiting. Around lunch time her Dad (who lives over the road) took her to the GP.
I’ve since spoken with the GP who said she tested for stroke and meningitis, she checked Claire for rashes and found none, her pulse and blood pressure were normal so she diagnosed a stomach bug and sent Claire home with instructions to rest. (Since then the GP has told me they had a practice meeting about what happened, they went through the diagnosis again, as a team, to see if the GP had missed anything – and they are happy that they would all have come to the same conclusion).
Claire got worse throughout the day and by the time I got home at around 1730 she was in agony, so her sister (who was visiting her parents who live over the road) said she’d take her to A&E.
By the time they got to A&E Claire was in so much pain she couldn’t walk and was struggling to breath.
They took Claire in to a side room, gave her some anti sickness drugs and took some bloods – Elaine (Claire’s sister) who was with her, said she looked a bit better at this stage.
Whilst the medical team were off running some more blood tests Claire came over completely numb, she calmly asked Elaine to go and get a doctor, which she did (typical of Claire not to want to make a fuss!).
When the doctors returned they immediately ushered Elaine out and took Claire in to resus… from there we are a little sketchy as to the exact sequence of events.
I arrived at the hospital and sat and waited with Elaine and Eddy (Claire’s dad) in a side room.
What we know for sure is that she had a cardiac arrest, they worked to save her and indeed did – they put Claire to sleep so she could rest and whilst on a ventilator took her for a CT scan for her head and stomach. The 3 of us waited in the side room for the results of the CT.
Sometime during this procedure she arrested again and we lost her.
The final cause of death has now been given as:
Acute Hypertensive Crisis caused by Phaeochromocytoma
This is apparently an extremely rare condition. The consultant that looked after Claire in A&E has said that he hasn’t seen this before in his 19 years on A&E. They also commented that with the condition such as Claire had it, the first symptoms that are displayed are when the body is going in to crisis and shutting down – no matter what we as a family had done, or no matter what the doctors had done there was nothing that would have prevented the acute hypertensive crisis that eventually caused Claire’s sudden death.