Doctor who saw tragic teen at Leeds Festival said 'outcome may have been different' if treated earlier

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A doctor who treated a tragic teenager at the Leeds Festival after he collapsed from taking ecstasy has said the "outcome could have been different", had he seen him an hour earlier.

Dr Mark Clayton, who was working at the Bramham Park event in August last year, was giving evidence during the inquest into David Celino, the 16-year-old who died hours after taking the deadly drug.

He bought the pill from a fellow festival goer in the campsite, and took it on the evening of Saturday, August 27. He collapsed around 90 minutes later near to the festival's medical tent where his concerned friends were taking him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dr Clayton said they used ice packs in a bid to bring down David's temperature after it soared above a life-threatening 41 degrees Celsius. He was quickly transferred to St James' Hospital by ambulance but died the next morning.

David Celino bought the ecstasy pill from a dealer in the Leeds Festival camping area. (pic by WYP / SWNS)David Celino bought the ecstasy pill from a dealer in the Leeds Festival camping area. (pic by WYP / SWNS)
David Celino bought the ecstasy pill from a dealer in the Leeds Festival camping area. (pic by WYP / SWNS)

David, from Manchester, had developed a life-threatening condition known as serotonin syndrome, which can be triggered by the chemicals in ecstasy that are meant to provide the euphoric feelings for the user. The inquest heard that David’s organs began to fail in the intensive care unit of the hospital, and the heart-breaking decision was taken to withdraw treatment.

His devastated parents, who had been staying at a hotel a few miles from the festival after dropping him and his friends at the site, were by his side.

Kevin McLoughlin, senior coroner at Wakefield Coroner's Court, asked if David could have been helped while at the festival, Dr Clayton replied: "If he had presented an hour earlier, perhaps. By the time he had arrived he was already particularly unwell but there was nothing we could have done differently."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Dr Clayton recognised that ecstasy users often mistake life-threatening symptoms as part of the normal drug-taking experience and are therefore less likely to seek medical assistance.

Quizzed by Mr McLoughlin on whether drug-related illnesses could be predicted, Dr Clayton said that due to the illegal production of such pills, there is no telling how potentially deadly each pill can be.

He said: "It's not like Pfizer and made in a lab. There's no batch control, no quality control. These can be made in a kitchen with a cement mixer.”

Having worked at the Leeds Festivals for the past five years, Dr Clayton said he can see up to 2,000 people during an event, and estimated that a “third or half” are drug related.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Asked by the coroner about the general use of illegal substances at events, he said: “They will always be a feature of festival life. It's a totally different world outside of normal statutes.

"People will always take drugs at festivals and the only thing to do is make it as safe as possible, or if we do have to pick up the pieces, we are able to do it in a timely fashion.

"You could search every single person on the site but they will still get in. An example is prison, they are locked down and you can’t keep drugs out of prison.”

The inquest continues and is expected to finish either later today, or tomorrow.