Doctors faced ‘unprecedented situation’ getting teenager who had overdosed into hospital, inquest told

PUBLISHED: 09:22 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:22 13 September 2019

Tyla Cook, 16, died in November 2017. Picture: Tyla Cook's family

Tyla Cook, 16, died in November 2017. Picture: Tyla Cook's family


Doctors said they faced an “unprecedented situation” as they tried to move a teenager who had overdosed from an ambulance into hospital, an inquest heard.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn pictured in 2018. Picture: Ian BurtThe Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn pictured in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt

Tyla Cook, 16, who struggled with gender identity and mental health issues, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn on November 15, 2017, six days after being admitted to hospital.

During a five-day inquest, held this week at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich, it was heard that Mr Cook, who had autism, told staff at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) that he had taken an overdose. He was carried to an ambulance by staff members, and during the 11-minute journey to the QEH, the inquest heard Mr Cook, of Wretton, became increasingly agitated.

Kirsty Sullivan, an East of England Ambulance Service paramedic, said: "His aggravation had peaked. He was like a wild animal, he was just clawing the walls and reaching out trying to get away."

Earlier this week, the inquest heard from consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Lauren Coates, at NSFT, who said, on arrival, QEH doctors had refused to assess Mr Cook or provide sedation in the ambulance to help him be moved inside.

On Thursday, Dr Cornelliu Ciuchi, an emergency medical consultant at QEH, said that Mr Cook needed sedating so an IV drip could be inserted but because of his agitation it was not possible.

Dr Coates had also claimed a doctor "grabbed Tyla's wrists and pinned them to his abdomen and started shouting 'hello, hello,' in his face".

But on Thursday Dr Cuichi refuted this, saying he asked paramedics to stop restraining Mr Cook and took hold of his wrists to gauge the level of restraint needed to take him into hospital. The teenager was given sedatives but it had no effect.

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Dr Cuichi said: "It was an unprecedented situation, having a patient not want to leave the ambulance. There was no time to waste, we needed to [treat the overdose]. The anaesthetist said we needed to bring Tyla into the hospital as he wouldn't sedate him in the ambulance."

Another ambulance crew attended to help restrain Mr Cook while using the rear lift to remove him from the ambulance. He was then taken to critical care.

Mr Cook died after a cardiac arrest, but a cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

His mother, Stacey Drake, has raised concerns over how he was restrained in the ambulance.

The inquest continues.

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