My name is Michael Shepherd and I’m 53 years old. I live with my wife Janice, 51, and son Liam, 23, in Bolsover – a small town 6 miles from Chesterfield in Derbyshire. All was well in our lives until the horror, which came on Friday 19th May 2006.
Our daughter Lisa, 23, a staff nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital was due to take Liam to work as she was off work on holiday. She was planning an early morning shopping trip to nearby Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield with her friend and fellow nurse Tanya, and as she was up early she told her mum to have a lie in and she would take Liam to work.
Her alarm went off at 7am and normally she was up and about without any “snoozes” on the alarm, but this time it was different, the alarm just carried on – something was not right. I shouted to Lisa to turn the alarm off and this woke Jan and Liam.
Jan asked what was the matter and then flew into Lisa’s bedroom. Jan screamed the house down, and the sight that every parent in the world fears was there to see, Lisa appeared dead.
I felt no pulse, called 999 and all 3 of us spent the next 15 minutes being guided over the phone to perform Artificial Respiration and heart massage until the paramedics arrived.
Lisa was pronounced dead at the hospital at 7.50am, our world had been shattered.
At the inquest on 1st August, the coroner started his summary with an apology. He said that with the information at hand and the technology available he was unable to give a cause of death and her death certificate states the cause of death as “unascertainable”. All the tests on the vital organs had found nothing untoward. We would never know what Lisa died of.
We did an interview with the local BBC news programme “Look North” and this is when we were united with the CRY organisation. I spoke to Alison Cox at CRY and she advised us to have Liam checked out as she said Lisa’s death mirrored another nurse’s death some years earlier and she suggested that Lisa could have died of a heart rhythm problem.
Information packs were sent to us, of which one was passed on to our GP regarding the heart rhythm problem. He agreed with CRY and Liam was sent for various tests and was declared fit and well. Liam still has some problems sleeping – he says he is scared to go to sleep. Its been a long road but I do believe we are winning the battle.
All our friends and relatives have been fantastic – without their help it would have been virtually impossible to carry on. With collections and events we have raised £3500 in aid of the Children’s Nightingale Ward at Chesterfield Royal Hospital where Lisa worked. Lisa was a natural at looking after children.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alison Cox and all at CRY for your valuable support and wish you all the best for the future.
Mick & Janice Shepherd