Tragic boy died after collapsing in snow

A MOTHER tried to revive her 10-year-old son after he collapsed while playing in the snow with friends earlier this year, an inquest heard.

Joshua Houlgate had been snowballing and building an igloo near his home in the Smawthorne area of Castleford when he collapsed on the morning of February 5, Wakefield Coroner’s Court was told.

His friends alerted his mother, Sara Houlgate, who gave her son mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before paramedics arrived. Joshua’s friend Connor Thompson’s father Simon, 29, performed chest compressions on the youngster following advice from the 999 operator.

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Joshua, who had mild autism and had previously suffered from epilepsy, was taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield where doctors battled to save his life. However, despite the efforts of the hospital’s medical staff, they were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead later that day.

The inquest heard a post-mortem examination could not pinpoint a cause of death and further medical investigations were carried out. West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff was told Joshua may have been suffering from a previously undiagnosed heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Symptoms of the condition include a rapid heart rate, dizziness and palpitations.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Stephen Jones told the inquest that a scan of Joshua’s heart, which was taken when he was a two-day-old baby, showed he had the condition at that time.

In a statement read to the court, Joshua’s mother described her son – a pupil at Smawthorne Henry Moore J&I School – as a “happy child” and “very affectionate”.

She went on in the statement: “Within minutes of getting to the hospital we were told Joshua hadn’t survived. I still feel numb. The doctors have told me I might have post-traumatic shock.”

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes and said he would also record Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome as a factor in the cause of death.