Kyle Smith: Sheffield man dies of brain aneurysm years after surviving traumatic head injury in attack

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Kyle Smith went to his local GP twice in the weeks leading up to his death.

It was heard at the Medico Legal Centre today (September 14), that Kyle Smith tragically died at age 36 on December 11, 2022, at Royal Hallamshire Hospital after suffering a burst brain aneurysm.

Mr Smith had collapsed at his home with a seizure on December 9 and was found by paramedics in an unresponsive state.

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Mr Smith visited his doctors surgery in Woodseats twice in the weeks before his death, on November 24 and November 29, with headaches, a stiff neck, general body aches, and on the second visit, the addition of a sore throat.

Kyle Smith tragically died at age just 36 in December 2022 after suffering from headaches. Photo: FacebookKyle Smith tragically died at age just 36 in December 2022 after suffering from headaches. Photo: Facebook
Kyle Smith tragically died at age just 36 in December 2022 after suffering from headaches. Photo: Facebook | Facebook

The general practitioners on both occasions examined Mr Smith and provided advice and treatment for his symptoms which were in line with a viral upper respiratory infection. He was told to return to the practice if his headache did not go away, or worsened.

It was heard in the court that Mr Smith had suffered ‘severe head injuries’ in a physical assault outside his home in October 2018. He had sustained multiple skull fractures and had received treatment at the Neuro Critical Care Unit in Northern General Hospital.

At the time, it could not be confirmed Mr Smith had not suffered a vascular injury as vascular imaging was not performed. This meant it was not possible to say whether there had been a pre-existing aneurysm caused by the head injury before his death more than four years later.

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However, giving evidence, consultant neurosurgeon Shungu Ushewokunze said this might not have changed the outcome for Mr Smith as aneurysms can happen straight away after a head injury, or they can develop over time.

Mr Smith’s partner Fiona Sheridan, and his brother, Martin, believed that there had been missed opportunities of follow-up care for his head injury. Mr Smith was discharged from neurology in April 2019, but had continued to receive follow-up telephone appointments from the outpatient service.

It was heard that Mr Smith had received a letter in August 2021 following one telephone appointment which stated if he suffered any migraines in future that his GP should refer him back to neurology. But it appeared that this was missing from his medical record.

Mr Smith’s brother Martin said more medical rigorous care could have helped to prevent the death. He said: “There seems to be lots of steps along the way that, as a family, we’ve been failed, and my brother has been failed as well.”

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'My brother has been failed'

Mr Ushewokunze said: “I’m not convinced that, on the information that’s available, if [Kyle] went to the medics, that they would have been able to pick up the aneurysm.

“In the two weeks that Kyle has had the headaches, there have been other symptoms which are blurring the picture and not making it so clear what is going on.

“Hand on heart, I can’t say that the doctors who looked after him didn’t go through things thoroughly to try and make sure they gave him the best care.”

Kyle received treatment in hospital after suffering a seizure, but sadly died two days later on December 11.

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The medical cause of death was ruled as: 1a. subarachnoid haemorrhage, intracerebral haemorrhage and hydrocephalus, and 1b. Ruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysm.

Reading a short-form conclusion, assistant coroner for South Yorkshire West, Fiona Morrison, said: “There were no missed opportunities to provide earlier treatment which would have prevented Kyle’s death.

“Kyle’s previous traumatic head injury from 2018 was not causative of his death… My conclusion is that Kyle died of natural causes.

“I’m sorry for your loss. It’s a very tragic end to a young life, and it’s very sad. I wish to offer my condolences to all of you as a family.”

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