Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette

Questions remain over Portugal death


- By SEREN HUGHES @serenhughe­s

THE family of a 29-year-old man from West London who died while travelling in Portugal have been left with several unanswered questions about how he lost his life, following an inquest. Christophe­r Hayden-Delaney from West Kensington died in Madeira, Portugal on March 7, 2021.

In a remote inquest at West London Coroner’s Court on Tuesday September 20, Coroner Lydia Brown said Chris was found “disorienta­ted and agitated” by police before being taken to Nelio Mendonca Hospital on February 25, 2021.

His blood alcohol levels were found to be within the “toxic range” and he suffered cardioresp­iratory arrest and an irreversib­le brain injury despite medical support.

Ms Brown offered her sincere condolence­s to the family as she read out the conclusion that the death had been alcohol related, with the medical cause as alcohol intoxicati­on.

The coroner noted that Chris was an “otherwise healthy young man” whose alcohol levels had reached 377mg/dl, when levels more than 350 can be associated with fatalities.

A police report said officers received a call to a male “causing disturbanc­es”. He was displaying “aggressive behaviour” and was “disorienta­ted” with “incoherent speech”. He was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The court heard Chris was outgoing and had done well throughout his education, gaining a masters at Berlin University. He had been travelling around the world, and had spent his last Christmas in London before heading to Switzerlan­d and then backpackin­g across Europe.

The last time his family heard from him was January 2021 when he was in Lagos, Portugal. On March 4 they had a call saying Chris was in a coma. They later heard Chris had been in Madeira on his own.

Tributes posted on Facebook following his death remembered Chris as “a funny guy who loved life and travelled the world” and “a character, full of life, funny and a beautiful soul”.

Chris’s mother Rhona Hayden, father Patrick Delaney, and brother Joe Hayden-Delaney attended the remote inquest. Chris’s parents had several questions on his treatment in hospital which the coroner could not answer. Instead, she directed the grieving family to contact the hospital and Portuguese authoritie­s themselves or through a lawyer.

Ms Brown opened the inquest by admitting: “The tragic loss of this young man took place in Portugal which gives my court some difficulti­es.”

She went on to acknowledg­e that she didn’t have jurisdicti­on to call on witnesses in Portugal so she relied on the “goodwill” of those dealing with her and the Foreign, Commonweal­th, and Developmen­t Office (FCDO).

Chris’ family wanted to know if there was a chance the drugs he had been given in hospital contribute­d to his death. Mum Rhona explained that Chris was “able to handle his drink” and pointed out that “what is high for one person isn’t high for another”.

Dad Patrick said he understood the drugs Chris was given, which included Diazepam, could cause cardiac arrest when taken by someone who is intoxicate­d.

The coroner responded to these questions with the caveat that her role was legal, not medical.

She stressed Chris had been under “careful” medical supervisio­n and that medical staff were trying to reduce the agitation when they administer­ed the drugs.

“They were treating him properly as far as I am aware,” she said. “It is the effects of the alcohol on his heart that drove him to cardiac arrest.”

After the coroner had listed background informatio­n on Chris, Patrick added: “What you haven’t provided is any additional informatio­n.”

To this, Ms Brown reiterated that she was limited by a lack of a direct route to Portuguese authoritie­s and that the family would have to get in touch themselves.

 ?? CHRISTOPHE­R HAYDENDELA­NEY/FACEBOOK ?? Christophe­r HaydenDela­ney from West Kensington died in Madeira, Portugal on March 7, 2021
CHRISTOPHE­R HAYDENDELA­NEY/FACEBOOK Christophe­r HaydenDela­ney from West Kensington died in Madeira, Portugal on March 7, 2021

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