Young Leeds DJ with meningitis had ‘chance of life’ before St James' Hospital fall, says mother

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A young DJ who died after contracting meningitis would have had a "chance of life" if he had not fallen and banged his head while in a confused state in hospital, his mother has told a coroner.

Alex Theodossiadis, 25, died after he was taken to Leeds General Infirmary and then transferred to the city's St James's Hospital in January 2020, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

Mr Theodossiadis's mother, Professor Sue Theodossiadis, told the inquest she had a number of concerns about what happened to her son, especially relating to falls he had at St James's.

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"He did have a chance and that was taken away by the falls as far as I'm concerned," Prof Theodossiadis told the inquest in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Alex Theodossiadis, 25, died after falling and banging his head while in a confused state in St James' Hospital in Leeds.Alex Theodossiadis, 25, died after falling and banging his head while in a confused state in St James' Hospital in Leeds.
Alex Theodossiadis, 25, died after falling and banging his head while in a confused state in St James' Hospital in Leeds.

"Our view is that Alex was very alive. He was poorly, but alive.

"He had a chance of life before he fell.

"After he fell, he had no chance of life."

Prof Theodossiadis, who is professor of intelligent medical imaging at the University of Manchester, said she had rushed to Leeds from her home in Hale, Greater Manchester, with her husband, also Alex Theodossiadis - a consultant psychiatrist at Royal Oldham Hospital.

She said they later went home to eat because they were told her son's condition had not changed in the hours they had been there, a CT scan was normal and he was not being recommended for neurosurgery. She said they would have stayed at the hospital if any of these three things had been different.

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Prof Theodossiadis said they took a call at home from an "incredibly panicky" nurse who told them they needed to get back to Leeds urgently.

Around 50 of their son's friends had gathered at St James's, where they found Mr Theodossiadis on a ventilator and they was told he had fallen, banged his head and stopped breathing.

She told the coroner: "We found he was on a ventilator and showing no real signs of life we had just a few hours before."

Prof Theodossiadis said this was a "dramatic deterioration".

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She told the court she had a number of further concerns which included the difficulties her son had getting a GP appointment a few days before he went to hospital, and the fact he was seen by a nurse practitioner at a walk-in centre who only prescribed painkillers.

Prof Theodossiadis described how her son started having flu-like symptoms on January 16 2020 and then developed severe migraine headaches, leaving him unable to eat and confined to bed.

She plotted his declining state in his Leeds city centre flat through text messages he sent to friends and family.

One said: "I have been the most ill I've been for years. Felt like my body was about to fall apart."

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In a later message he said he "had the worst headache of all time".

On January 20, Mr Theodossiadis struggled to get a GP appointment at The Light practice, in Leeds city centre, eventually managing to book one for February 10, his mother said.

She said he continued to deteriorate and visited the Shakespeare walk-in clinic on January 24 where he was given strong painkillers for his migraine-type headaches by a nurse practitioner who told the court she did not see any signs of meningitis or she would have sent him to hospital.

A day later, Mr Theodossiadis was so ill his flat-mate - Leeds artist Sam Jeffries - took him to the A&E at Leeds General by taxi.

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Prof Theodossiadis told the inquest her son was a fit and healthy young man who lived for his DJ work, for which he was developing an international reputation.

"It was his life; it gave him joy," she said.

At a different hearing earlier this week, the coroner, Kevin McLoughlin, noted there were similarities between what happened to Mr Theodossiadis and the case of David Nash, 26, who died in Leeds in November, 2020.

Mature student and musician Mr Nash, 26, had four remote consultations at a Leeds GP practice but none spotted that he had an ear condition which caused a brain abscess, sparking meningitis, his family have said.

Mr Nash was eventually taken to St James's Hospital where he fell, causing an injury to his head, while he was left in a confused state, according to his parents.

The inquest into Mr Nash's death was due to take place later this month but has now been moved to next year.

The inquest into Mr Theodossiadis's death continues.