Letchworth mum says son who died during NHS bed crisis ‘didn’t have a chance’
A teenager from Letchworth tragically died when he did not attend A&E with cold and flu symptoms during the winter hospital bed crisis.
Nineteen-year-old Cameron Fraser came down with flu, a sore throat, headache and a high temperature on Boxing Day last year, and passed away on December 30. It was later discovered he had aspiration pneumonitis.
Cameron’s mum Tracy told the Comet: “I did what I was told and followed the advice given. My son has been a victim of NHS overcrowding – his symptoms never showed different other than flu that we as parents could tell, and now he is dead.
“All over the media and the news it told a story of bed crises in hospitals and floods of people in surgery – posts on Facebook saying if you have flu stay away and have plenty of fluids and paracetamol.
“‘If symptoms persist after 10 days seek medical help’. My healthy 19-year-old child wasn’t offered a flu jab, as he is not in an at-risk category.
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“On December 29 he took to his bed tired as he had been up all night coughing. We checked on him at bedtime and he looked terrible – who doesn’t with flu?
“I went to check on him in the morning and found him unresponsive and started CPR while my husband called emergency services. After 30 minutes the first response unit arrived. She pronounced him dead.
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“After waiting 14 weeks for the results from the coroner, it turns out that sometime after the December 26 my son had coughed and inhaled. This led to aspiration pneumonitis, which presents as flu. The whole thing took three days out of the 10-day NHS guideline given on TV and social media.
“It never occurred to me to call a doctor. What chance did my son have in those fateful few days? None.”
An NHS spokesman said: “While the NHS is offering extra options for quick and convenient advice when people feel unwell, the NHS is not – and would never – ask people who need to do so not to go to A&E. Instead our public information is about helping people know about the range of services available.”
Cameron, who worked at Wetherspoon pub The Angel Vaults Inn in Hitchin, was the second of four siblings and was taking a gap year from the University of Hertfordshire at the time of his death.