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Teenager killed by asthma attack

PUBLISHED: 16:16 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 July 2010

A PREGNANT teenager died after suffering a fatal asthma attack, an inquest heard.

Stacey Withey was 32 weeks pregnant when, at the Great Yarmouth flat she shared with her boyfriend, she began to struggle for breath.

A PREGNANT teenager died after suffering a fatal asthma attack, an inquest heard.

Stacey Withey was 32 weeks pregnant when, at the Great Yarmouth flat she shared with her boyfriend, she began to struggle for breath. After going outside, the 16-year-old fainted and never regained consciousness.

The inquest, at Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Thursday, heard she died as the result of an acute chronic asthma attack on September 13 last year.

When Stacey began struggling for her breath her boyfriend, Michael Muldowney , called for an ambulance and when paramedics arrived at the North Quay address they found Stacey lying face down on the pavement.

She had stopped breathing and while on route to the James Paget University Hospital her heart stopped. Doctors tried to revive her and save the baby by carrying out an emergency caesarean section, but both Stacey and the baby died.

Giving evidence at the inquest, paramedic Kevin Kane said it was clear she needed medical treatment because her lips had gone blue and her face had began to swell. She had been put on a ventilator but her heart stopped when the ambulance was about a minute away from the hospital.

Stacey, originally from Birmingham, had moved to Yarmouth in July 2007 to be closer to her mother Lisa Mahoney of Gorleston, and on July 2 was put on the borough council's priority list for temporary housing.

Christine Miller, senior homeless prevention worker at the borough council explained Stacey had been forced to leave her accommodation in Birmingham and was unable to stay with her mother because it was overcrowded. She moved into the North Quay ground floor flat in July and her boyfriend moved in a few days later.

Stacey's family said she had complained about a damp problem in the kitchen and bathroom but the council had no record of a complaint being made.

The inquest also heard that Stacey's family had been concerned about her boyfriend's cannabis habit.

DC Ian Cox, read out statements from Mr Muldowney and Matthew Tabberner, a friend of his from Birmingham who had been staying with the couple on that fatal evening. Both statements revealed the pair had been smoking cannabis in the flat on the day that Stacey died.

Giving evidence, Mr Muldowney said: “She would sometimes ask us to go in the kitchen and smoke but that day she didn't.”

He added that the room had been thick with smoke because no windows were open in the flat while they were smoking.

Dr David Ellis, consultant chest physician at the James Paget, treated Stacey for chronic asthma three weeks before she died. He had heard that Stacey sometimes had cannabis, believing the drug calmed her asthma.

He said that a lot of different things could trigger an asthma attacks, not necessarily cannabis or damp in the flat.

Coroner Keith Dowding recorded a verdict of natural causes.

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