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Nicole Goodwin

Inquest held into death of 'beautiful girl' who was one of youngest people to receive a heart transplant

An inquest into the death of one of the youngest people to receive a heart transplant has been held in Newcastle.

Beth Griffin was just six months old when she underwent a heart transplant at Newcastle's Freeman hospital in 1999. But she sadly died at the same hospital on September 12 last year, aged 23, after being admitted with chest pains, breathlessness and dizziness.

Her mum, brother, and grandparents travelled from their hometown of Leeds for the inquest into Beth's death, which concluded that she died of natural causes.

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The inquest heard that Beth was transferred to the Freeman Hospital on August 21, 2022, after being admitted to Leeds General Infirmary the day before. She was treated for pneumonia and was able to return home on August 30.

But on September 1, she was readmitted to Leeds General Infirmary with chest pains and transferred back to the Freeman. Investigations found that she was suffering triple vessel disease, which is an extreme form of coronary artery disease which develops when the major blood vessels supplying the heart become damaged or diseased.

Beth, who worked as a carer, was transferred to the cardiac ICU at the hospital, and despite the doctor's best efforts to treat her, her condition continued to deteriorate rapidly. She suffered a cardiac arrest and although she was able to be resuscitated, she suffered a second cardiac arrest, from which she was unable to be resuscitated.

Beth Griffin (Louise Griffin)

An inquest into her death concluded that Beth died of natural causes.

Coroner James Thompson said: "Beth's death was entirely a natural one in that she died from a naturally occurring disease, sadly in her case running its full course."

He added that medical interventions did not save her life, nor did they shorten it, and that the progression of her case was extremely rapid, which was "unheard of" in the experience of the doctors treating Beth.

Following the inquest, Beth's mum, Louise, told ChronicleLive: “I would like to thank Dr Adam McDiarmid [cardiologist consultant at the Freeman Hospital] for attending today to give his evidence. I am truly grateful for the care Beth received from the Freeman Hospital.”

Lousie said Beth's case was "tragic", but she hopes it will be reflected on to help prevent other families from experiencing the same thing.

Beth Griffin as a baby (Louise Griffin)

She added: “I'd like to thank Danielle Herron [coroner’s secretary] for being so lovely and making me feel as much at ease as she possibly could for today. It's not something a mother of a 23-year-old should have to attend but like the coroner said today, I did my daughter proud.”

At the time of Beth's death, Louise wrote: "There are simply no words to explain the love for Bethany from everyone but most of all from me, her mum. I'm simply broken. I'm not ok, I'm totally broken.

"She will be sadly missed by her siblings, Tom, Jack, Ben and Bobbie. Beth was the most bravest, strongest, kindest, funniest, sometimes gormless - in a way that made us all laugh - but she really is the most beautiful girl ever.

"She was simply far too good for this world, Beth will always be loved and never forgotten.

"I just want to thank everyone for their kind words, messages, flowers and for the love and support you have all shown me and my family - I'm overwhelmed with the amount of love and support."

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