AN INQUEST has heard how a mother walked into her terminally ill son’s room to find that that the ventilator he relied on to breathe was no longer working.
Matthew Simmonds died on the evening of July 6, 2011, after being released from hospital to quietly spend his last days at the family home.
But a Winchester inquest was told yesterday how, within hours, police were called to the house in Oakmount Road, Chandler’s Ford because he had suddenly died.
A post mortem concluded that this was because his ventilation had been interrupted.
Mr Simmonds suffered from the rare genetic disorder von Hippel-Lindau disease.
Tumours had developed in his neck and brain and he was no longer able to breathe without a ventilator.
Mrs Simmonds said that, as a result of the way Matt had died, she had not been able to say goodbye to him.
She described to the inquest how she walked in to find a sudden stillness in his room: “He looked different but I can’t describe how, it was just a feeling that something wasn’t right.
“I put my hand over the tube from the ventilator and there was nothing coming out of it. And then I called Nurse Harris.
“There was mild panic and she was at the right hand side of his bed, and something clicked and the air started coming through on the tracheostomy.
“I had a feeling she turned the ventilator on.”
Mrs Simmonds said that she had earlier picked up on an atmosphere between Kadiatu Harris, who had arrived to cover the night shift, and Fauzia Rust, who had been nursing Matt since he’d arrived home.
“There seemed to have been a little bit of a tiff – it was demeanour and comments,” she said.
Mrs Simmonds praised how staff at Southampton General Hospital’s Respiratory High Dependency Unit had cared for her son during the six months he was on the ward, adding: “They were very fond of Matt.”