Tragic teen was ‘angry’ at life-threatening condition

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A tragic teenager who routinely refused medical treatment and life-saving drugs for a serious kidney condition took illegal substances in the hours before he died, an inquest heard.

Shannon Brooks was found dead on New Years Day, after celebrating with friends the night before.

15-year-old Shannon Brooks was found dead at his home on New Years Day 2014

15-year-old Shannon Brooks was found dead at his home on New Years Day 2014

The 15-year-old had been undergoing kidney dialysis treatment since April 2009 but had missed taking medication and avoided hospital appointments, including one two days before his death.

The teenager, who had been under a child protection plan from Blackpool Council’s children’s social services, had taken Class B drugs in the hours before his death, Blackpool Coroners Court heard.

His consultant, Dr Malcolm Lewis, said it was “immensely frustrating” to know his young patient might take illegal substances but not prescribed life-saving drugs he was prescribed.

His devastated mother, Kerrie Taylor, 38, told the inquest her son was a “confused young boy” who felt “angry” about being ill, but in the weeks before his death he had “seemed to look really well”.

An inquest into his death was adjourned by Blackpool and Fylde coroner Alan Wilson, pending the outcome of a serious case review by Blackpool Council’s children’s safeguarding board.

Mr Wilson said: “I think it’s appropriate I wait before I conclude the inquiry.”

The former Collegiate High School pupil was found dead at his home in Dawlish Avenue, Grange Park, on January 1. He had drunk some alcohol and later smoked cannabis the night before.

At around 5.30am he messaged his mother telling her he loved her. He was found at around 2pm.

A post mortem found no external injuries but an internal examination showed the effects of his kidney condition and found in his system a small amount of methoxetamine – a Class B drug similar to ketamine.

Shannon was born with reduced kidney function and underwent an operation and spent two weeks in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital as a baby, but he made good improvements.

Then while at Boundary Primary School, Grange Park, aged 11, he collapsed and was told his kidneys were failing again.

For four years he had dialysis treatment, first at home and later in hospital and was charged to take a number of tablets daily, for high blood pressure, abnormal blood calcium and Vitamin D deficiency.

But “every day was a battle to get him to take his tablets”, his mother told the court.

His doctor, a kidney specialist for children at Manchester Children’s Hospital, said watching his young charge ignore his advice was like “watching a slow train crash happen”.

He added: “Shannon was very angry, very scared, and very uncooperative. We kept him alive by dialysis but never improved his state of health.”

The teenager’s “total lack of understanding and total lack of cooperation” with treatment meant he was never able to be considered for a kidney transplant.

Social services were called in as his mother and doctor desperately tried to find a way to make him understand the seriousness of his condition.

Despite this, a placement away from his family home was deemed not appropriate as a way to encourage Shannon to follow medical advice.

Dr Lewis said: “We reached a point where Shannon was always at risk of immediate death.”

The inquest was adjourned for a verdict to be given later this year.