A boy of 11 who suffered an asthma attack at the end of classes was left dying in a school corridor and died of natural causes, significantly contributed to by neglect, an inquest jury has ruled.
Sam Linton was found alone and gasping for air by two fellow pupils after being told to sit in a corridor by his form tutor Janet Ford, who admitted to the inquest that she was in 'after-school mode'.
The youngster was not taken to hospital until two hours later
when his mother Karen Linton arrived at the end of the day when she was alerted to her son being poorly. He died shortly afterwards despite attempts to save him.
Sam's doctor later claimed he would be alive today had he been taken to hospital instead of being left in the corridor.
The tragedy began at 3pm when Paris Rafferty, 16, and another girl pupil found Sam outside his classroom looking ‘unwell and was struggling to breathe’.
Stockport Coroner John Pollard summed up evidence and said: ‘Both girls were sufficiently concerned that they went over and asked him if he was OK.
‘He was struggling to speak so they sat down next to him. Sam said he was OK and Miss Ford was aware and she said to sit outside whilst she had a meeting.
‘They went to her door, knocked on it and interrupted the meeting and said they were concerned about Sam and that he needed help.
‘Paris says that she was told by Miss Ford to go away, and told that she knew he was there and he would have to wait.
‘Paris went off to find Jack and as she returned Sam was still puffing on his inhaler. She said he seemed like someone who was trying to speak after they have been sobbing for a long time.’
Sam's brother Jack, who is also a pupil at the school, was alerted to the youngster's condition and found him constantly taking his inhaler and leaning forward. Sam's tie was loose and his top button undone.
Jack said he told Miss Ford they needed to get an ambulance but Miss Ford told him to go to the staff room and call his parents. Jack said Miss Ford told him she had a ‘meeting’ to go to and left them with a caretaker.
Jack said he was ‘frightened’ but tried to keep calm for Sam's sake. Mrs Linton said she had been at a friend's house when she got a call saying her son was poorly and rushed there to find Sam with Jack.
Giving evidence Miss Ford denied what the pupils said and refuted claims she left Sam alone.
But she admitted being ‘vague’ on policy on asthma attacks and added: ‘I think I was in after-school mode. In hindsight I would have done things differently.’
But the coroner said she was ‘unconvincing’
in response to his questions.