Teenage dad dies day after falling ill

EXCLUSIVEBy Rebecca SheppardTHE family of an 18-year-old father have spoken of their grief after he suddenly died of a suspected heart attack - only a day after feeling unwell.

EXCLUSIVE

By Rebecca Sheppard

THE family of an 18-year-old father have spoken of their grief after he suddenly died of a suspected heart attack - only a day after feeling unwell.

The day before he collapsed Ricky King was healthy and, along with his 18-year-old partner, was enjoying being the parent of a 10-week-old baby.


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But the following day his mother found him slumped in his bed after suffering bronchial pneumonia, which is believed to have brought on a heart attack.

The teenager, from Rendham Road, Saxmundham, was taken to Ipswich Hospital, but within days doctors had to turn off his life support machine.

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His mother, Chris Goodale, said yesterday: “It was just such a shock. He was a perfectly healthy lad on the Monday and on the Tuesday he had collapsed.

“Initially, of course, we had the hope that he would come through it. Even if he was a little bit brain-damaged, I would have looked after him.”

The tragic events unfolded on June 7 when Mr King's father, Ian, called him to get up for work at European Golf Machinery in Bucklesham, where he was employed as a trainee welder.

But Mr King - who had suffered with viral tonsillitis three weeks before, but had otherwise been well - did not answer and when his mother knocked on his door later there was still no reply.

She said: “I went in and found him collapsed over the side of the bed with blood coming from out of his nose and mouth. He was very cold.

“I gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the ambulance crew got here. They then carried on with the heart massage when they got here. They came really quickly, in less than four minutes.

“To be perfectly honest, I called through to Ian that he was dead. He was very cold and very blue. We don't know how long he had been lying there.”

The ambulance took Mr King to Ipswich Hospital, where he was immediately taken to the intensive care unit and put on a life support machine.

Doctors warned the family that if he did regain consciousness, it was likely he would be brain-damaged as his brain had been starved of oxygen.

His whole family, including his three brothers and three sisters, and his grandparents, gathered round him.

The following day doctors tested his pain response and initially it looked quite positive.

They carried out further tests on the next day to see whether his brain was still active, but on June 10 his blood pressure soared and repeated tests showed his brain had died.

Mrs Goodale said: “They did tell us on Friday that if there was no further response they would have to switch off the machine in Ricky's best interests.”

Mr King died on June 10. His family decided to donate his kidneys, pancreas and liver and have already heard that his organs have been successfully transplanted to three people.

They are now trying to come to terms with his untimely death and are determined to keep his memory alive so his son, Alfie, who was born on March 27, can know everything about his father.

Mr King met his partner, Fay Le Goupillot, from Maldon, while living for a year in the Essex town with his sister, Sam. The couple then moved to Saxmundham to live with his mother and father.

Miss Le Goupillot said: “He said it was the best feeling being a dad and you could never describe it. He used to get quite tearful.

“I'm going to create a Daddy's Wall, a big wall of photos. I don't want Alfie to forget him. I'll tell him how his dad was happy, playful and always doing jokes, and proud of him.”

Mr King was a former pupil of Saxmundham Primary School, Saxmundham Middle School and Leiston High School, which he left when he was aged 16. All three schools held a minute's silence in memory of him on the day he died.

From the age of about three Mr King took part in motocross and had just bought a Honda motorbike. He was planning to do a college course alongside his traineeship in the next year and was interested in history.

Mrs Goodale said he had been “an adored son”, who would be remembered for his smile and sense of humour.

She added: “He was a very liked boy. The response we have had from people is overwhelming.

“I would just like to say thank you to everybody for the support that they have given the whole family and the people in the intensive care unit, especially Mary Grace.”

A funeral service for Mr King will be held on Wednesday at 11.30am at St John's Church, Saxmundham. Family flowers only. Casual dress.

rebecca.sheppard@eadt.co.uk

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