Mark Stuart

Stuart, MarkName: Mark Stuart.
Died: November 13, 2015.
Age at death: 22.
Cause of death: Medical malpractice (Hospitalized and denied nutrition or sufficient hydration; surgery for intestinal obstruction delayed; died of intestinal rupture).
Location: Blackburn, England, UK.

Mark loved swimming in open water. He lived in Kendal, which had many lakes nearby, and he had swum all of them. He also liked “Coronation Street”. He had the episodes recorded and watched them repeatedly. At 22, he was a 6’7″ giant who was living with his parents and beginning to make his first friends.

Mark was so detail-oriented and had such a good memory that his family never needed a GPS system when they went on vacation because he knew the national highway network by heart.

Mark developed digestive problems and began to lose weight rapidly–a third of his body weight in his last six months. When his bowel became blocked and he was in severe pain, his parents took him to the hospital.

The hospital neglected Mark. For five days, he lay in severe pain, starving because the hospital would not give him any IV nutrition, and dehydrating because they did not give him enough fluid. They promised surgery, and then delayed it. When Mark told nurses that his pain was even worse than it had ever been before, they refused to insert a tube to drain his stomach and relieve the pain. Later that day, Mark’s bowel ruptured.

A new doctor arrived and saw Mark was dehydrated, and rehydrated him too quickly, making things even worse. Mark was in crisis by the time doctors finally decided to take him in to surgery; when they administered the anesthetic, his heart stopped and he could not be resuscitated.

Mark’s family scattered his ashes at his favorite swimming spot.

Investigation into death of autistic man at Royal Blackburn Hospital to be reviewed
Our Son’s Final Days

Daniel Ross

Name: Daniel Ross.
Died: June 29, 2019.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Suicide/Negligence (Not informed of autism diagnosis; committed suicide).
Location: Hartlepool, Durham, England, UK.

Daniel was an art student who had always had problems with anxiety, especially in social situations, and was experiencing suicidal thoughts. At 19, he was finally booked for an autism assessment.

The assessment confirmed that Daniel was autistic, but the clinic failed to contact Daniel. Between the assessment and the diagnosis, 12 months passed.

Daniel, who had been struggling with depression, lost his life to suicide when he hung himself in a hotel room. He is mourned by his boyfriend and his father, who questions why it took so long to get him his assessment and communicate the results.

Autistic people who reach adulthood without a diagnosis frequently become depressed and isolated. In these cases, getting an evaluation and a diagnosis can be crucial to recovery, since not knowing how your own mind works makes it much harder to fight depression. The unconscionable delay in giving Daniel this information may well have raised his suicide risk. -Ed.

References: Teenager took his own life at hotel while awaiting autism diagnosis

Sara Lincoln

Name: Sara Elizabeth Lincoln.
Died: January 4, 2019.
Age at death: 25.
Cause of death: Suicide/Neglect (Denied autism assessment).
Location: Richmond, North Yorkshire, England, UK.

23-year-old Sara had an alcohol and drug problem that had been getting worse ever since she left home at age 20. She suffered from intense anxiety, which she tried to quell by using drugs; but her drug use spiraled out of control.

Her worried mother saw that she had all the traits of autism–instead of interacting with people, she would try to guess what they wanted to hear and say that. She tried to get the NHS to give her daughter an autism assessment, explaining what she suspected and that she worried that her daughter might be at high risk for suicide. But the doctors ignored her, insisted that Sara had “anxiety and social anxiety”, and did not send her for an assessment.

Sara took her own life at the age of 25.

Editor’s note: We may never know for sure whether Sara had autism, but her behavior is not unusual for a young autistic woman with social anxiety. Her treatment-resistant anxiety and her mother’s observations should have prompted her doctors to at least look into the possibility that she might be on the spectrum; however, like many autistic young women, Sara did not fit the stereotype of autism, and so the professionals did not believe she could possibly have autism. Had she had proper support, she might still have committed suicide–but then again, she might not have. Her odds would, in any case, have been better.

References: Richmond: Mother thought daughter had autism two years before death

Melody Driscoll

Driscoll, MelodyName: Melody Driscoll.
Died: July 3, 2018.
Age at death: 11.
Cause of death: Medical malpractice (Necessary medication withdrawn, signs of pain ignored; internal bleeding from pancreatitis).
Location: London, England, UK.

Melody couldn’t talk, but she could understand everything around her. She was a fan of singer Ed Sheeran and owned her own guitar; the first time she saw him on TV, she fell in love with him. When she was nine years old, Ed Sheeran visited her in the hospital. At first she didn’t believe it was really him because he had cut his hair; but then he showed her his tattoos. Realizing it was really him, she couldn’t stop smiling.

Her favorite color was yellow. Sometimes, when a doctor tried to listen to her chest, she would grin mischievously and hold her breath. She had four brothers.

Melody had several other conditions, including intestinal failure and eventually severe chronic pain. When she was four years old and dying, her parents decided that even though being on strong painkillers and TPN (being fed nutrients through an IV) might shorten her life, it would improve the quality of the life she did have. This turned out to be true; with the aid of painkillers and medical support, Melody lived relatively happy despite her illness and constant hospitalization. She was not supposed to live past the age of four, but with TPN and painkillers, she made it to the age of eleven.

At eleven, Melody’s liver was starting to give out from the TPN. She was having repeated infections. And then came the last straw: Her doctors decided to withdraw her pain medication. Every time they had tried this before, Melody’s body had begun to give out, the stress of pain and withdrawal from the medication simply too much for her to handle, and Melody’s parents had to insist she be put back on the medication which, as a terminally ill child in severe pain, she needed to keep her quality of life reasonably good.

But when Melody was transferred to a new hospital to have her care overseen by a liver specialist, the doctors decided that she didn’t need painkillers and stopped her medication. They were convinced that her crying, writhing in pain, and indicating where it hurt was just “behavioral problems”. The doctors even threatened to have her parents’ custody of Melody taken away and later applied to have all medical decisions be reviewed by the court. Threatened with having Melody die alone without her parents by her side, her parents decided to stop fighting and stay with Melody instead.

After being taken off medication, Melody’s health quickly deteriorated. She died, after eleven weeks of pain and increased internal bleeding, when doctors perforated her bowel with a tube while trying to treat her pancreatitis.

Ed Sheeran played a tribute at her funeral.

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Ed Sheeran pays tribute at girl’s funeral
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Shay Turner

Portrait photo of a small redheaded boy.Name: Shay Martyn Turner.
Died: April 3, 2018.
Age at death: 5.
Cause of death: Medical malpractice (Misdiagnosed with diabetes, given an insulin overdose).
Location: Rotherham, England, UK.

Shay had a nine-year-old brother, Finnley. The boys played together on the Xbox and with Legos.

Shay became very ill, vomiting and unable to keep anything down, so his parents rushed him to the hospital.

Shay had sepsis–a blood infection–but the doctors missed that diagnosis and instead diagnosed him with diabetes. They then proceeded to give him ten times the normal dose of insulin. Shay quickly went into a coma, his brain badly injured from low blood sugar and from the toxins flooding his body from an infected colon, and died four days later.

On autopsy, it was discovered that Shay had possibly had Hirschsprung disease, which could have caused the bowel infection and sepsis. He had never been diabetic. Sepsis, a serious condition, might have claimed his life even if the doctors had done everything right; but the combination of misdiagnosis and medication error had sealed his fate.

Shay was buried in his Star Wars stormtrooper costume, surrounded by his favorite toys and his favorite Peppa Pig book.

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