Teen died four days after moving into Sheffield student halls, inquest hears 

Abigail Hall with boyfriend, Josh Thompson

A ‘happy’ teenager collapsed and died just four days after moving into student accommodation at a Sheffield university, an inquest heard. 

Abigail Hall, 18, had been vomiting and complaining of stomach pains for three days when she collapsed in the bathroom of her new bedroom at the Trigon student acommodation in Shoreham Street, Highfield on the evening of September 23, 2015. 

The Sheffield Hallam student died shortly afterwards.

Sheffield Coroners’ Court heard today how Abigail’s parents, Charlotte and Mark Hall, had taken her to the walk-in centre in Rockingham Street the day before she died.

Both Mr and Mrs Hall told the court that when the on-call doctor, Dr Thomas Pollak, asked Abigail about what her vomit looked she told the medic it resembled ‘coffee coloured grounds’.

“He said he had seen other students that had come in with viruses. He said it might be a virus or the beginning of appendicitis...and gave her a prescription for Buscopan,” said Mrs Hall. 

After the consultation, Abigail, who had moved into the accommodation just three days before on September 19, picked up her prescription and went back to halls with her parents. 

Mr and Mrs Hall recalled telling Abigail she should come home with them to Doncaster, but Abigail told them she wanted to stay because she was due to enrol on her course the following day and hoped her prescription would be working by then. 

Abigail’s housemate, Agata Paliwada, told the court that she had been ‘keeping an eye’ on 'happy and friendly' Abigail after she fell ill, and went to check on her just before 7pm. 

She said: “She wasn’t in her bed, and I thought maybe her parents had come and got her. As I was walking away, I saw the light on her bathroom, I looked in the bathroom. She was there. She looked unconscious.”

Agata raised the call for help and some of her fellow students began CPR on Abigail as they waited for paramedics to arrive. 

After receiving instruction from the paramedics, Agata and a fellow student rushed to the Tripon reception to see if the student halls had a defibrillator, but were told they did not have one. 

Despite the best efforts of medics, and the students attempting to save her, Abigail died a short time later. 

Pathologist Simon Kim Survana said Abigail’s post-mortem revealed that Abigail’s lungs had ‘aspirational material’ in them, but said he had ‘no explanation as to why’ that had happened. He recorded her primary cause of death as being Aspiration Pneumonitis, which is when foreign material is taken into the lungs. 

Dr Survana noted that Abigail had some internal bleeding, but said this was consistent with someone who had been repeatedly vomiting and had subsequently died. 

Her secondary cause of death was recorded as idiopathic gastroenteritis. 

Assistant Coroner, David Urpeth, told the court that during the course of the four-day inquest he would attempt to determine what had caused Abigail to continuously vomit in the run-up to her death. 

The court heard how after moving into her accommodation on the afternoon of Saturday, September 19 she went out to friends to the Tank nightclub; and went to a 'paint party' the following night. 

Witnesses describe Abigail having a few drinks, including vodka and red bull and Jagerbombs, on both nights she went out; but she was said to be 'tipsy' and not drunk on each occasion. 

Abigail's friend, Layna Youngman, told the court that the pair went to the paint party together on September 20 but left early due to feeling bored. 

Layna said Abigail was 'fine' during their walk back to her accommodation, but began complaining of 'sharp stomach aches' around 20 minutes after arriving home and began vomiting shortly afterwards. 

"She was up and down every half an hour being sick during the night," said Layna. 

The court is due to hear evidence from Dr Pollak tomorrow. 

The inquest continues. 

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