Popular Sheffield dad-of-two Tom Dudley, 31, died two weeks after receiving AstraZeneca vaccine, inquest told

A popular dad-of-two from Sheffield had received his first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine two weeks before his unexpected death last year, an inquest heard.

Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 12:36 pm

Tom Dudley, who lived in Woodseats with his partner Simone and their two little daughters Lyla and Hallie, died on May 14 last year, three days after he was found unresponsive at home. He was 31.

At an inquest held at Sheffield Coroner's Court on Monday, March 14, it was heard that Tom had received his vaccination on April 27 at Carterknowle and Dore Medical Practice before complaining of constant headaches.

He was then rushed to Northern General Hospital in the early hours of May 11, after becoming ‘restless’ and then collapsing in the living room where he was found unresponsive at around 5am by his partner.

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Dad-of-two of Woodseats, Tom Dudley died unexpectedly at the age of 31.

Dr Alex Rawlings, the GP partner who was the clinical lead for the Dore vaccination site, said Tom did not have any medical history that would prevent him from taking the vaccine.

AstraZeneca was first associated with the risk of blood clots accompanied by low platelet levels affecting the younger group of people, which health authorities described as 'extremely rare'.

The UK subsequently issued a guideline on April 7 that people under the age of 30 should be offered an alternative vaccine.

However, the Government then issued updated guidance on May 7 that people under the age of 40 were to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine as concerns over links to rare blood clots continued.

Tom Dudley (centre) with fellow footballers Brendan White (left) and Gerard Gorman (right)

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‘His bleeding was extensive’

Dr Giorgia Saccullo, a haematology consultant at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, who testified at the inquest, described Tom's vaccination date as ‘unfortunate’ as she agreed that it would be unlikely for Tom to have had the side effect that he did if he were given other vaccines like Pfizer.

She said Tom had shown ‘extremely raised’ D-dimer in his blood, meaning he had a blood clotting condition in his brain and he required immediate neurosurgery.

She said: "I did not manage to see him, but I phoned my colleagues (who treated him) to establish further steps but I was told by the neurosurgeon that they didn't have the expected benefit and the bleeding was very extensive.

"We continued treatment until I was told that Tom had irreversible brain damage, which, I believe, was on May 13, and he died the day after."

Tom's mum, Alison, who was also present at the inquest, asked if Tom was advised properly about the vaccine's side effects including prolonged headaches after vaccination, following concerns surrounding AstraZeneca then.

His partner, Simone, added that Tom was not given a sheet of paper informing people about the side effects as he was not in the queue because he was in his crutches and told to wait in the car.

However, Dr Rawlings felt that all patients who arrived to receive the vaccinations were advised properly.

Risk to people having AstraZeneca Covid vaccination ‘significantly reduced’

Assistant Coroner Tanyka Rawden returned a narrative conclusion that Tom had died due to a cerebral haemorrhage caused by vaccine induced thrombocytopenia as a result of the administration of AstraZeneca vaccine on April 27.

She did, however, stress that the cause was not a known and recognised complication of the vaccination at the time and that the risks have been ‘significantly reduced’ after the changes in the guidelines were enforced.

"Guidelines have been changed very quickly after Tom had his vaccination and to me, therefore, the risk to these people in the future that are going to have the vaccination is significantly reduced," she said.

"We can never have a vaccination that is without risk and I think everybody probably has accepted that but it's about keeping the risk as low as possible and the changes that have been brought in since do achieve that.

"That doesn't help you, of course, because the one person you want to have around right now is Tom and he's not here."

Ms Rawden offered her condolences to Tom's mum, sister Hannah, partner Simone, and Simone's mum, who were all present.

‘He was larger than life’

Describing Tom, who was a huge supporter of Sheffield United FC, Alison said he was a ‘very wonderful son’.

She said: "He was larger than life, he had lots of friends and loved his two girls very much. He drove us mad but we loved him."

Simone said Tom was a very friendly person and liked by his colleagues at Pyramid Carpets in Woodseats, where he worked as a salesperson.

But since his death, she said she has not been receiving much professional support in bringing up her two children.

She added: "I've got two kids to bring up so that's that. The young one doesn't know the difference but the old one finds it difficult."

Ms Rawden said she would look into providing support to the family.

A keen footballer, Tom’s passing had rocked fellow players, who described him as a ‘first class lad’ and told how ‘infectious joy abounded when he was around’.

Tom, who was one of five siblings, grew up in Millhouses and attended Mylnhurst Preparatory School and Silverdale School.

The Sheffield United fan played for a number of teams and was a regular at Goals Sheffield, opposite Norfolk Park, where he would join friends for a kickabout every Tuesday.

His funeral took place at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium on June 3 last year.