Advising with empathy and experience

Leeds hospital trust apologises after rapper MF Doom died in its care


An NHS trust has apologised for the substandard care given to underground rap icon MF Doom, 49, who died while having hospital treatment.

The artist behind songs including Accordion and That’s That, whose real name was Dumile Daniel Thompson, died in October 2020 due to a lack of oxygen to his brain after a reaction to a drug prescribed for blood pressure.

The London-born rapper, one of hip-hop’s most distinctive MCs and producers, who was part of the American hip-hop duo, Madvillain, alongside Madlib, died at St James’s hospital in Leeds.

At an inquest into his death, the Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust, which runs St James’s, acknowledged there had been “missed opportunities” during his treatment for angioedema, a sudden swelling often caused by an allergic reaction.

The Leeds Live website reported that Thompson’s throat, tongue and lips became swollen after he was prescribed medication to control his blood pressure.

The musician, who had several medical conditions including kidney failure, type 2 diabetes, heart failure and hepatitis B, underwent kidney dialysis in Leeds in July 2020.

The inquest heard he had registered with a new GP in the city and doctors had been unable to access his previous medical notes because of concerns about data protection.

On 23 October 2020, Thompson had breathing problems after taking new medication and went to the A&E department at St James’s hospital where he was given adrenaline, steroids and oxygen.

His condition appeared to improve but then suddenly deteriorated and he collapsed. Thompson, who had six children, was put on a ventilator and died on 31 October.

Assistant Yorkshire coroner, Janine Wolstenholme, said a care plan drawn up in hospital was not sufficiently detailed and that doctors were given a “false reassurance” about the musician’s condition when his health appeared to improve.

She added that when Dumile Daniel Thompson suggested the swelling in his throat, tongue and lips were getting worse, this should have provided the impetus for a review at the hospital, although it was not possible to say whether his collapse could have been avoided.

The assistant coroner described Thompson’s deterioration on 31 October 2020 as rapid and said it was a “rare event”. She said the reaction to the drug was rare but it was more common in smokers and people of African-Caribbean descent. Thompson was described as a moderate smoker.

The coroner said the trust accepted that doctors had not sought “specialist input” about the patient’s condition from an immunology expert and apologised to Thompson’s wife, Jasmine, who followed the inquest via video link from the US, for the time it had taken to bring the matter to the court.

Janine Wolstenholme gave a narrative verdict that touched on a number of issues highlighted by Thompson’s wife and her legal team.

Afterwards, Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust chief medical officer, Dr Hamish McLure, said: “I apologise that the care he received was not to the standard we would expect.

“Following his sad death we undertook a serious incident investigation and the report has been shared with Daniel’s family. As a result we have put in place a number of actions and the wider learning from what happened is to be used as a teaching topic in a number of different clinical specialities. We also support the coroner’s recommendation for clearer national guidance and awareness in this area.”