Kentish Express Ashford & District
‘The loss for us is profound and life-changing’
Super-fit Dominic Hamlyn, 24, was doing lengths underwater during a family birthday party when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.
The “extraordinary” young Cambridge graduate and former King’s School pupil had been celebrating his brother’s 21st, at the family’s home in Crundale, when the tragedy struck.
He had delivered an “irreverent and entertaining” speech about his little brother, before going for a swim with friends, as he often had.
But when Dominic – a skilled athlete who excelled in rugby, rowing and cricket – became motionless in the water, frantic friends pulled him from the pool.
Despite determined CPR from his father – leading neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn – the rapid arrival of paramedics, and efforts by specialist doctors who worked on him throughout day,
Dominic died in hospital 15 hours later.
An inquest later found he had suffered a cardiac arrest due to a previously unsuspected heart condition, which medical experts agreed was unconnected with the swimming and could have happened at any time.
“Blessed in our lives, our luck ran out that night,” said his father.
Mr Hamlyn, a sports injury expert, has previously written in detail about how there needs to be more awareness of cardiac risk in young people – and has called for more education within medical services on the potential life-saving opportunities.
“Such cardiac arrests in young people are not rare, and tragically they are usually lethal,” he wrote.
“However, outside a small group of specialists there is widespread ignorance of the condition.
“Why does all this matter? It matters because the lack of awareness and medical imprecision is killing young people every day in Britain.
“As a family, our only solace is to try to make sure others do not die needlessly, and the only hope for potential victims is to pick up the underlying condition before it strikes.”
Mr Hamlyn believes the statistic that “at least 12 young people die of cardiac arrest each week in the UK” is likely to be a “gross underestimate”.
“As a result, victims’ families will continue to go unscreened and readily treatable warning signs missed,” he continued.
“Families such as ours, who have lost a loved one to a young cardiac death, must undergo specialist screening to see if they have one of the inherited risk factors.”
Mr Hamlyn wants his son’s legacy to not be that of a family immersed in grief, but one that brings awareness and change.
“The loss for us is profound and life-changing,” he added. “No words can describe the scope and scale of it.
“Along with my wife and Dominic’s two brothers, we each feel a part of us died with him that day.
“It is my fervent hope that lives will be saved in his name. It is our only comfort now.”