A 15-year-old died after she took ecstasy tablets called ‘Netflix and Chill’ at an end of term party, an inquest heard.
Tragic Leah Kerry had been to visit her grandmother before going to the bash with her old school friends when she collapsed.
Her friends then left her for a “considerable” time on a bench to ”sleep it off’ before returning to find her unresponsive and called an ambulance, an inquest was told.
The ambulance that was sent then went to the wrong park with the same name twelve miles away, an inquest heard.
Leah, who had recently moved from Devon to Salisbury, Wilts, was pronounced dead after a three hour battle to revive her in hospital.
Her inquest heard she suffered a fatal seizure.
A representative from the ambulance trust apologised to Leah’s family.
But the hearing was told the ten minutes lost as a result of the mistake would not have made any difference to the outcome.
Leah’s mother, Sarah Forbear, told the inquest her daughter had been excited at the prospect of seeing her friends.
She added: “She was not a habitual drug user. This was an impulsive act.”
Sarah told the coroner she had dropped Leah off at Newton Abbot railway station where she was met by a friend.
She had £20 to buy food and a train ticket to Torquay and said ‘Love you. Bye’ and walked away towards Courtenay Park.
But the friends went to the party at Bakers Park in Newton Abbot instead, and at 3am Leah’s mother received a phone call from Torbay Hospital.
Doctors said her daughter was in the emergency department having taken an ‘unknown substance’.
She was in cardiac arrest and despite lengthy efforts to resuscitate her she never regained consciousness.
Coroner Ian Arrow said he hoped her death would act as a warning to young people about the dangers of drugs.
He confirmed that Leah died of MDMA (ecstasy) poisoning and said: “She had taken three tablets of her own volition. This was a drugs-related death, these pills having caused a serious seizure.
“In deaths of this nature I hope there is some publicity to alert young people about the danger of taking drugs in the first place.
“Perhaps if someone had taken action earlier, she might have received help earlier, although I don’t think it would have been possible to save her.”
Russell Cooke of the South Western Ambulance Service Trust explained the delay in getting to Leah and apologised.
He said the dispatcher had chosen the first ‘Bakers Park’ from a drop-down menu on his screen, and had sent an ambulance to the wrong address in Holne as a result.
He said when paramedics got to the correct location Leah’s breathing was shallow and she was unresponsive.
The SWAST said an investigation had been carried out into the handling of the emergency.
Leah’s friend, who had made the 999 call, had been given the wrong information over the phone about resuscitation, and ‘inappropriate language’ had been used.
When Leah’s friend said Leah had taken drugs, the inquest heard, the dispatcher said: “I think you have, too.”
But the inquest heard that the dispatcher had been subjected to ‘considerable abusive language’ during the 999 call.
The attitude was ‘hostile’, and the caller had not been forthcoming with some information because she did not want to get into trouble herself.
Mr Cooke added: “The teenagers were naturally upset and worried about their friend.”
He said Leah had clearly been ‘unwell for a while’ when they got there, and the 10-minute delay had not been crucial.
Forensic pathologist Dr Deborah Cook said Leah had taken three of the four tablets they bought from a dealer in a car park in the town centre. Binman Jacob Khanlarian has admitted selling them the drugs and has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Dr Cook said: “Leah was talking to herself and thought to be hallucinating. Her friends left her on a bench to sleep it off. When they returned they realised that she was unwell and made the call for the ambulance.
“It was not the first time she had taken alcohol with drugs, particularly ecstasy.”
Dr Cook said that by the time Leah – a ‘fit, young woman’ – arrived at hospital at 3.10am on July 15, some 55 minutes after the first paramedic had arrived, she was deeply unconscious, her kidneys had failed and her heart had gone into an abnormal rhythm. She died just after 6am.
Blood tests showed ecstasy in her system, along with traces of cocaine and ketamine, although these could have been as a result of the ‘Netflix and Chill’ tablets being contaminated with other drugs.
Dr Cook added: “Leah took six times as much as her friends. The number of tablets taken was excessive. There is no safe level of ecstasy.
“When you buy a drug on the street you have no way of knowing what is in it. You don’t know if they are contaminated or not, and it is possible that those tablets were contaminated.”
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