Doctors baffled by teen’s heart attack

Doctors are unable to explain why a 17-year-old boy died of a massive heart attack, an inquest has heard.

Kaelem Hainsworth had no drugs or alcohol in his system following his death, and there was no evidence of heart disease. Pathologist Aoife Maguire told Dublin Coroner’s Court the cause of the heart attack remains unclear.

Kaelem, from Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin, was found collapsed in his friend’s house on Nov 18, 2012.

The night before his death, he had been at a pre-debs event attended by students of Oatlands College, Stillorgan, and Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown, in the Old Darnley Lodge Hotel in Athboy, Co Meath.

His friend, Eoin Holohan, told the court buses took students to the venue at around 9.30pm. Kaelem had two cans of Heineken on the way, the court heard. Mr Holohan said other boys on the bus had bags containing blue pills and a powder he believed to be cocaine.

“Kaelem was with me all the way up on the bus and he didn’t take anything and we were not offered anything,” said Mr Holohan.

Even if Kaelem had been offered anything, he would not have taken it, as he was very anti-drugs and would not even drink excessively, Mr Holohan told the court. In a deposition read in court, another friend described seeing another boy on the bus crushing up drugs and snorting them.

At the nightclub, Kaelem was drinking bottles of beer and one of his friends bought a round of shots. Mr Holohan said Kaelem was dancing, but not to excess. Lily Higgins, who spoke to Kaelem in the club and on the bus home, said he did not seem drunk.

“When we were talking he made perfect sense at all times,” she said. “He just seemed happy and enthusiastic about being there.”

Buses brought the students back to Dublin at 4am. Mr Holohan said that, as they walked to his house, Kaelem said he had a pain in his chest and arm. When Mr Holohan woke the next morning, he saw Kaelem having a fit. Kaelem was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Dr Maguire said Kaelem died as a result of a massive heart attack, which involved both chambers of the heart. This is very unusual, she said. The initial event happened at least 12 hours before his death, she told the court. There was no heart disease, no viral infection of the heart, and no reason to suspect an inherited condition. A toxicology screen tested for more than 100 substances and came back negative. There was no alcohol left in Kaelem’s system when he died. The cause of the heart attack remains unclear, said Dr Maguire.

The inquest was adjourned until Jan 27 for further evidence.


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