A father told an inquest how he used a vacuum cleaner nozzle in a frantic attempt to save his 10-year-old son’s life during an asthma attack.
Dwayne Cuming’s improvised suction device momentarily cleared the boy’s airway, but he still couldn’t be revived despite a resuscitation attempt lasting almost an hour.
Harrison Cuming, who had a severe peanut allergy as well as chronic asthma, was rushed to the Royal Preston Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Preston’s deputy coroner Simon Jones heard the boy had just eaten hotdogs for tea and was preparing to watch a Saturday night film with his dad and younger brother at their home in St James Gardens, Leyland when the attack happened.
Mr Cuming held his wife Victoria’s hand as an officer read a statement in which he re-lived the moment he found himself in a desperate life or death struggle as his young son fought for breath. “I was setting up the DVD and Harry was sitting patiently on the couch,” he recalled. “He told me his chest was quite tight and I told him to relax and take a few puffs on his inhaler. He said he needed a nebuliser because his inhaler wasn’t working. He became agitated, he was struggling to breathe. He started to cry, he was panicking and shouting. I had never seen him react like this before. He was stamping his feet and shouting ‘Dad, Dad, it’s not working.’”
Within moments the boy collapsed and stopped breathing. In desperation Mr Cuming, a trained first-aider, carefully used a vacuum cleaner nozzle in a bid to clear the airway. He continued CPR in the ambulance as his son was rushed to hospital. “None of the ambulance crew offered to take over,” he said.
The inquest heard Harry had had four or five life-threatening asthma attacks previously. His parents claim doctors failed to listen to their pleas for stronger medication in the months before his death. (Proceeding)