Croydon man died in long haul op, inquest hears
A young paraplegic man desperate to find a cure died following a controversial stem cell operation in Ecuador, an inquest heard.
Ricky Chick, 27, of Silverwood Close, Croydon, was left paralysed from the waist down after a serious motorbike accident in 2004 and became "frustrated" at the options available to him in England.
He decided to travel to Hospital San Francisco in Guayaquil, Ecuador for private treatment using stem cell technology, which is being trialled in some countries for treatment of spinal injuries among other conditions.
During the operation in August 2009 in the South American hospital, stem cells were placed into his spine, but when Mr Chick came round, he could not stand any noise and wanted to remain in darkness, Croydon Coroners Court heard.
He fell into a coma in his hopital bed after complaining of headaches following the operation after saying "I think this headache is going to kill me Mum."
The former body builder died the following day, the inquest heard.
Coroner Doctor Roy Palmer said: "Intrachranial hypertension had caused Mr Chick to cardiac arrest. His death was a result of treatment that didn't work out."
Pathologist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki told the court the operation had caused brain swelling.
Dr Angela Gall, from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital said Mr Chick had a "potentially life threatening complication."
She said in written evidence: "Ricky had not discussed the stem cell treatment with me. We advise against it (being treated abroad) as there is no regulation."
The doctor added how failed treatment abroad could jeopardise any future treatment in the is country.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Chick's mother Christine Chick said she wanted to warn people about the dangers of her son's spine condition.
She said: "I want people to recognise autonomic dysreflexia. Nobody seems to recognise it, only spinal injury experts seem to.
"I was having to tell ambulance workers about it how to do their job. The condition can be life threatening so more people need to be made aware of it."
Mr Chick's sister Carly Chick, said: "He was a completely normal guy, he was talking like me and you, he was a very capable, intelligent man and he had his own, independent life. He was very brave."