Jake Wilde, 13, fractured his arm during a bike ride with his siblings and underwent a “simple procedure” but died soon afterwards due to an undiagnosed muscle disease
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A 13-year-old boy who broke his arm during a bike ride died after undergoing a routine surgical procedure because he was given general anaesthetic.
Following his death, Devon teenager Jake Wilde was diagnosed with a muscle disease that increases the risk of danger when given the drug.
His family endured further tragedy when his father Carl passed away a month later due to heart problems, an inquest at Exeter’s County Hall heard.
Jake had been on a bike ride with his brother, sister and two friends when he fell and fractured his left arm in August 2019, Devon Live reports.
The school pupil, who loved animals and was passionate about history and cooking, was taken to North Devon District Hospital by his parents Carl Wilde and Kussinka Dowbekin that evening.
Medics gave him gas and air as his arm was ‘manipulated’ into place ready for surgery the following morning.
Doctors at the hospital described how the operation was a ‘simple orthopaedic procedure’ lasting around 45 minutes and had been a success.
However when Jake, of King’s Nympton, regained consciousness and was able to be seen by his mother he began complaining of pain in his back, bottom and legs and became agitated.
While being monitored by doctors, shortly afterwards he suffered a cardiac arrest and was unable to be revived. In a statement his mum described how she was so heartbroken she ‘collapsed to the floor’ when she was told he had passed away.
Paying tribute to her son, the mother-of-three said: “As a family, we are devastated by the loss of our son Jake. As a mother, I find it deeply distressing and can’t face the inquest.
“Jake was only 13 when he passed away. He leaves behind two siblings who miss him terribly. Jake loved animals and dinosaurs and wanted to be a palaeontologist. He adopted animals with the World Wildlife Fund. He was a zookeeper for the day at Exmoor Zoo and talked about his experience for weeks after.”
She continued: “His passion for life was amazing. He loved school and learning. He loved history and World War Two was a subject he was most keen to learn about.
“Jake was the most sweet and kindest boy. He had his whole life ahead of him and it was sadly cut short. He was loved by many and is dearly missed by everyone who knew him. We still find it hard with the loss of Jake.”
Doctors confirmed they had been unaware of any past medical history of pain in Jake’s hips and calves before his operation.
The inquest heard Jake had suffered with long-standing calf discomfort aggravated by activity and it was relieved by rest and walking on his tiptoes.
In 2016, he was referred to a pediatric physiotherapist who told in a statement there had been ‘no evidence’ on examination to suggest a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. He was then referred to the physiotherapy team and no concerns were noted.
A post mortem examination was carried out by Dr Samantha Holden, a consultant pediatric pathologist, who told the inquest that a muscular biopsy did not reveal any abnormalities.
However, she told how earlier this year she received a further report from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital which was able to carry out specific testing for muscular dystrophy and the diagnosis of Becker muscular dystrophy was confirmed.
It is a form of muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that gradually makes the body’s muscles weaker and smaller.
The family have been advised to be tested to see if it has been passed on to any other family members. In the case of Jake, Dr Holden stated that unknown to doctors, the anaesthetic he was given caused significantly high potassium levels resulting in cardiac arrest.
She said: “No one knows exactly why it happens but the association with muscular dystrophy is people are at risk of having a reaction to the anaesthetic.”
She concluded the cause of his death was sudden death associated with anaesthetic in a child with Becker muscular dystrophy.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, coroner Philip Spinney said: “Jake suffered cardiac arrest due to complications of anaesthetic and an undiagnosed diagnosis of Becker muscular dystrophy.”
Addressing the family’s representative, he said: “Please pass on my condolences. It is plain from the statement received today that Jake was much loved and is greatly missed.”