Heart con­di­tion caused tragedy

MoD in­quiry re­port on soldier’s death

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS - Hilary Dun­can­son

The sud­den death of an Ec­cle­fechan soldier dur­ing an Army fit­ness test was an “un­fore­seen tragedy” stem­ming from an un­der­ly­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion, an of­fi­cial re­port has con­cluded.

Cor­po­ral Josh Hoole, 26, of The Ri­fles, coll­pased at about 6.30am on July 19 last year in Bre­con, Mid Wales.

He was tak­ing part in a “men­tally and phys­i­cally de­mand­ing” train­ing course which he’d been passed as medically fit to at­tend eight days ear­lier.

Tem­per­a­tures peaked at just above 30C that day.

A probe into the in­ci­dent con­cluded the cause of his death was “within the def­i­ni­tion of sud­den ar­rhyth­mo­genic death syn­drome (SADS)” – a con­di­tion that af­fects the heart.

A panel found Cpl Hoole would not have known of his sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to SADS and that it was rea­son­able for the Army not to have known about the prob­lem.

A Min­istry of De­fence ser­vice in­quiry into the death was car­ried out by the De­fence Safety Au­thor­ity, with the find­ings now made avail­able.

It found a com­bi­na­tion of SADS trig­ger fac­tors – ex­er­cise, heat, adren­a­line lev­els and po­ten­tially an im­bal­ance of blood salt lev­els - were “con­trib­u­tory to this ac­ci­dent”.

Writ­ing in the re­port, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Richard Fel­ton said: “Cpl Hoole was a phys­i­cally fit, de­ter­mined and ca­pa­ble in­fantry soldier.

“He was ex­pe­ri­enced, with nu­mer­ous op­er­a­tional de­ploy­ments un­der his belt in his eight years of ser­vice and had a promis­ing ca­reer ahead of him”.

The panel con­cluded the soldier did not die as a di­rect re­sult of do­ing the an­nual fit­ness test.

“Cpl Hoole’s med­i­cal con­di­tion might have man­i­fested it­self sim­i­larly at any time if what he was do­ing caused the trig­ger fac­tors to prompt SADS,” the re­port stated.

“Fur­ther­more, de­spite the im­me­di­ate and com­pre­hen­sive emer­gency med­i­cal treat­ment Cpl Hoole re­ceived, it was not re­al­is­ti­cally pos­si­ble to have saved his life once he had col­lapsed”.

The panel has made a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions to ad­dress in­con­sis­ten­cies and short­falls across the ar­eas it ex­am­ined but said: “It must be stressed that none of these were fac­tors that di­rectly con­trib­uted to, or ag­gra­vated Cpl Hoole’s death.”

Lt Gen Fel­ton of­fered his con­do­lences to Cpl Hoole’s fam­ily and friends adding: “The loss of such a gifted and promis­ing soldier was an un­ex­pected tragedy.”

Cpl Hoole’s fa­ther Phillip con­firmed last year that his son had an un­di­ag­nosed heart de­fect that was only re­vealed by the post-mortem.

Gifted soldier Cpl Josh Hoole

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