Action taken to improve safety after teenager’s death at Sheffield student accommodation

Action has been taken to improve safety, say the managers of student accommodation in Sheffield where a student collapsed and died.

By Robert Cumber
Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 11:19 am

Abigail Hall was 18 when she died after collapsing at the Trigon student lodgings on September 23, 2015, having started at Sheffield Hallam University just days earlier.

An inquest last year, which concluded her death was accidental, heard how she had died from aspiration pneumonitis, which is when foreign bodies enter the lungs, with gastroenteritis given as a secondary cause.

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The coroner David Urpeth subsequently wrote to Derwent Students, which manages the accommodation, and his regulation 28 report, which was sent last September, was published today.

In it, he states: “During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken...

“During the inquest, evidence showed: There was no defibrillator at the premises nor were Derwent staff first aid trained. This position apparently still persists.

“In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you (AND/OR your organisation) have the power to take such action.”

Derwent Students said measures had now been taken to improve safety.

In a statement, the firm said: “Our training and development plans have now been reviewed and updated to ensure all staff are first aid trained, a defibrillator has also been purchased for onsite use should an incident occur.”

Copies of the coroner’s report were also sent to Ms Hall’s parents and grandmother, and to Sheffield Hallam University.

The inquest heard how Ms Hall, from Doncaster, had suffered stomach pains and vomiting in the run-up to her death.

The day before she died, her parents had taken her to an NHS walk-in centre where GP Dr Thomas Pollack prescribed Buscopan to reduce stomach cramps.

The inquest heard how gastroenterologists agreed that even if she had been referred to hospital it was ‘likely’ she would have been classed as ‘low risk’ and discharged.