21 year-old died tragically after contracting pneumonia

A healthy 21 year old with no prior symptoms of illness died from pneumonia after falling asleep on a sofa, a coroner’s court has heard.

Kelvin McGinley, of 29 Amelia Court, Derry was found dead by his partner in the living room of his home on September 9, 2011.

Senior Coroner John Leckey said pneumonia can develop in just a few hours but it was “unusual” in a young person. Addressing members of Kelvin’s family in Derry courthouse, he said: “I have come across other instances where young adults, and babies as well, have died from pneumonia. It does happen and it is tragic when it does.”

Pathologist Dr Peter Ingram told the hearing that four days prior to Kelvin’s death, he was cycling a child’s bicycle when he was knocked off it. He complained of having pain in his shoulder and attended casualty but left the unit without being seen by a healthcare professional.

He returned home where he took two 500mg co-codamol tablets and fell asleep on the sofa in the living room of his home. His partner recalled that he was snoring and she placed a blanket on him before leaving. She returned around ten hours later to find Kelvin dead on the sofa.

The court heard that Kelvin had no external or internal injuries nor where any drugs found in his system other than a therapeutic amount of co-codamol.

During the hearing Kelvin’s mother asked Mr Ingram how her son could have contracted pneumonia without any prior symptoms of illness. Mr Ingram explained that pneumonia can set in within two to three hours and develop very rapidly.