Inquest Begins: Family Fights for Answers in Disabled Son’s Mysterious Death


In the tragic aftermath of Samuel Brown’s untimely death, a coroner initially deemed an autopsy unnecessary due to his pre-existing disabilities, as relayed by his bereaved mother at an ongoing inquest that commenced on Monday.

The devastating news reached their family only mere 12 hours after receiving a phone call from the specialized institution that Samuel attended for visually impaired children, stating that he seemed a touch under the weather. Yet in the blink of an eye, the young man was declared deceased at a local hospital, leaving his parents in shock. They were further taken aback when advised by the medical personnel to factor in their son’s disabilities as part of the unexpected occurrence.

“The coroner explained, ‘There’s no requirement for an autopsy.’ I was flabbergasted, incredulous, and asked for clarification. The reply was, ‘An autopsy wouldn’t shed any new light as he was born with a chromosome deletion,” recalls Andrea Brown, his mother, tears welling up in her eyes.

Brown exploded with exasperation, recalling her painful rejoinder, “I well remember that, being the one who actually gave birth to him.”

Born with a chromosome deletion, Samuel’s condition rendered him blind, deaf, and non-verbal from infancy. He passed away five years ago at eighteen, whilst studying at W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario. His family fondly remembers him in good health just prior to his death, despite the disparate conjectures offered by the medical community regarding the cause of his demise.

The inquest initiated is set to investigate the specifics surrounding Brown’s death, examine the heightened risk factors involving ingestion and aspiration he was confronted with, evaluate protections put in place against these dangers, and scrutinize the educational institution’s policies in addressing the needs and well-being of students sharing similar disabilities.

During his childhood spent at W. Ross Macdonald, Brown navigated without any major hitches, except for sporadic hospital visits for mild sickness. Reports of him feeling a tad uneasy on the evening of February 8, 2018, were followed by an urgent phone call the next morning about Samuel being rushed to a hospital, unresponsive. It was in the gloom of the hospital corridors that the shocked parents were informed about their son’s passing.

According to the family, the coroner’s final report dismissed their son’s death as a natural outcome. In a fervent quest for clarity, the family pushed for an autopsy, which disclosed that Samuel succumbed to pneumonia, exacerbating their distress and bewilderment.

Andrea Brown further unveiled that the school staff was monitoring Samuel on an hourly basis on the night of his demise due to his unnaturally laboured breathing and lethargy. Despite voicing her concerns, she was left uninformed of these developments, adding to her dismay.

Andrea emphasized that her son’s disabilities never deterred him from living a fulfilling life, characterized by infectious laughter, gratifying smiles, and the affection he evoked amongst his familiar circles.

“Samuel had a knack of instilling love, patience, and care without uttering a single word, without being able to see or hear. Life for him was far from over,” she lamented.

Expected to run for a ten-day course, the inquest will witness depictions from numerous individuals, including school staff, tasked with conducting a post-mortem examination and an expert on medical ableism.


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