Grieving Mum's Vow after Tragedy

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), July 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Grieving Mum's Vow after Tragedy


Byline: Naomi Paylor

The unexplained death of her teenage son prompted a grieving mum to help others at risk of a similar fate.

James Robertson - described by his parents as "the perfect son" - was found dead in bed on March 5.

Mum Carole Pearson and stepdad Allan Ainsley - convinced he was a victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome - described how the Guisborough 16-year-old was in good health and spirits when he went to bed the previous night.

He had been due to go to Prior Pursglove College that morning where he was studying art.

But when his college mate called at the family home in Pine Road, Mr Ainsley went up to James' room to find him slumped over the bed. Paramedics were called, but the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

At an inquest yesterday, Coroner Michael Sheffield recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

He told the inquest in Midd;esbrough: "Extensive investigations and inquiries were carried out, but in spite of all the tests carried out, no cause of death can be ascertained."

Since the tragic death, Mrs Pearson has been investigating the condition known as Sudden Adult Death (SAD) Syndrome. She believes her son suffered from a genetic strain of the condition known as Long QT Syndrome.

SAD is not detectable in post-mortem examinations, but can diagnosed during life by screening.

Mrs Pearson is now supporting a campaign to help other youngsters at risk and believes there should be an automatic right to tests for those at high risk and a structure for screening.

She told the Gazette: "When a kid goes to bed one night you don't expect to find him dead the next day. But the time for feeling sorry for myself is over, I am now determined to do something about this. The sooner they get some sort of screening in place for this, the better, because it's happening too often."

Mrs Pearson, 52, has written to Tony Blair and is working with organisations such as Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to bring in changes.

"James was the best son a mother could wish for," she said. …

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