Doctors missed Morecambe BMX boy’s blood clot: Inquest

Greg Richardson.
Greg Richardson.

A BMX biker who crashed when an acrobatic stunt went wrong died after doctors failed to spot a blood clot, an inquest was told.

Schoolboy Greg Richardson suffered serious internal injuries when he landed on the handlebars of his bike at a skate park.

The 15-year-old Morecambe Community High School pupil passed away in hospital 11 days later when a clot broke away and lodged in his lungs.

Preston coroner Dr James Adeley heard the blockage was overlooked during a series of scans in Lancaster and Blackburn. Even a specialist radiologist called in from Sheffield to review the case also missed it.

Consultant pathologist Dr Shamir Shaktawat said Greg, from Montrose Close, Heysham, died from a pulmonary embolism. But he told the inquest that even though a deep vein thrombosis in his leg was the most likely source, the clot could also have come from his badly damaged liver.

Dr Shaktawat revealed staff at the Royal Blackburn Hospital battled for two hours to revive the teenager after he collapsed in the radiography unit as he was about to undergo another CT scan.

Doctors even opened his chest in the Accident and Emergency Department to perform manual heart massage, but he failed to recover.

Greg’s father Mr Andrew Richardson recalled how he had been called to Morecambe Skate Park after Greg had crashed on his bike.

“He was pale and feeling very unwell when I got there,” he said. “There was no colour in him at all and he was complaining of pain in his abdomen.

“He had been doing a stunt on his bike and it hadn’t come off. The bike had gone down before him and he had landed on top of it. It was basically a mishap.”

Greg was initially taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. But, after doctors in the resuscitation unit scanned him and diagnosed a badly lacerated liver, arrangements were made to transfer him to the specialist unit at Blackburn.

For 11 days the teenager remained in a largely stable condition, said consultant surgeon Dr Ambareen Kausar. His liver, she said, had been “split down the middle” by the force of the crash, but for days it seemed the bleeding had stopped.

During that time Greg underwent a series of scans. And, on the day he died, he was in the process of going for another when he felt breathless and collapsed.

It was only then discovered that an earlier scan showed a clot in the femoral vein in the leg, but it had been overlooked. There were also signs of thrombosis in his liver.

The inquest continues.