Advising with empathy and experience

Tragic asthma death of chess champion.

A nine-year-old chess champion who died of an asthma attack could probably have been saved if he had not been sent home from hospital, a coroner at Westminster Coroner's Court has ruled.

The boy, Michael Uriely, who played for Barnet Knights Chess Club and was considered one of the most promising youngsters in the game, died on August 25 2015, five days after leaving the Royal Free Hospital, London.

In the months before his death Michael Uriely, who was diagnosed as asthmatic when he was aged two and started playing chess a year later, saw many doctors who failed to diagnose that his condition was chronic.

If he had been given a high dose of steroids in hospital "it's unlikely he would have died", the coroner, Dr Shirley Radcliffe, said.

Michael's parents took him to hospital following a violent coughing and vomiting episode that left him struggling to breathe.

He was eventually allowed to go home, but the inquest heard he suffered another attack in the early hours and was taken back to A&E. This time he was kept in overnight, but despite two internal investigations, medics failed to diagnose his chronic asthma.

He was released from hospital the following day and died from an acute attack five days later.

Dr Radcliffe said that when Michael was admitted to hospital twice within 24 hours "alarm bells should have begun to ring.” She said that "totally inadequate" medical history was obtained on that occasion and no connection was made with his previous admission.

She added: "The opportunity to recognise this as a serious problem was lost. The history and signs were there to be seen and understood. But, sadly, it wasn't recognised and he was discharged essentially on the same treatment he had been on."

Following Michael's death, The Royal Free Hospital appointed two specialist respiratory clinicians, opened a dedicated asthma clinic and introduced a new strategy for dealing with children with asthma.

The inquest heard that since Michael Uriely’ death, seven other children in London have died from asthma.