Christopher was 19 years old, my stepson and Karen’s only child. He had just found his first love and had everything to live for.
On Friday 8th June 2007 he was having a kick-about in Kings Park, Swanage with a couple of mates. He stopped, looked over to Aimee his girlfriend, smiled and waved, and as they turned away he collapsed with cardiac arrest, falling onto his back. Unfortunately as he did so, he vomited and inhaled the vomit.
His friends called for an ambulance and commenced CPR. Being rural Dorset, it took 10-20 minutes for a paramedic to arrive and he, seeing how severe the situation was, called for a helicopter to get Chris to hospital.
The Dorset Police helicopter took Chris to Poole general Hospital where he was taken to the A&E department, where they struggled to stabilise Chris’s vital functions. Chris was eventually transferred to the ICU where we thought his condition was being brought under control.
On the evening of Sunday 10th June, my wife Karen and I left Chris with Aimee by his bedside, to get something to eat. In the time we were away Chris’ blood pressure dropped and Aimee was asked to leave while they stabilised him.
On our return we were allowed in after around half an hour, and as we sat with Chris the Consultant came in and checked Chris’ pupils with a penlight and we realised that they remained dilated.
At that point the Consultant took us to a side room and told us that he believed Chris’ brain stem had died, though he could not be definite until all the support systems were withdrawn for tests to be made.
These tests were carried out at 10am on the Monday and it was confirmed that the brain stem had died. His ventilator was removed and at 10.20am Chris slipped away as his heart stopped beating.
We were not prepared for the large numbers of friends who turned up at the hospital to see Chris and wish him well as news of his collapse spread – and those who arrived when they heard he had died, so they could say goodbye to their friend. Because of the investigation into his death we were not able to hold a funeral until 16th July, when Chris was interred in the Churchyard at St Nicholas’ Church in Child Okeford in Dorset.
Ironically Chris had just passed a Photography Course on the day he collapsed, and on the day his heart stopped beating he was due to undergo a major hip operation at Guys Hospital in London. We think that we was worried he might not survive the operation, as he had begun to discuss with his mum what he wanted doing if he died during it.
Andy and Karen Dixon