Norfolk

Tyla Cook: Trans teenager's mum critical of care before death

Ambulances outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn Image copyright Anita Hodgson
Image caption The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk, will remain in special measures

The mother of a teenager with gender identity issues has criticised the care he received in the days before he died.

Tyla Cook, 16, "disliked" being a girl and adopted male pronouns in the months before his death in 2017, an inquest heard.

At the start of a five-day hearing, Tyla's mother Stacey Drake said he died six days after taking a drug overdose.

She said "he would still be alive" if Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust had acted differently.

Ms Drake said the family was "not happy" with the way Tyla was treated by paramedics and hospital staff.

Tyla, of Wretton near Downham Market, Norfolk, had depression and anxiety, and began assessment by a specialist gender identity clinic in London in November 2016.

He told doctors "he disliked being a girl and would like to be a boy", the court heard, and had started using male pronouns the following January.

At that time he also began taking medication to help with his mental health, but also struggled with self-harm and eating issues.

Tyla's assessment with the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) ended after three appointments in May 2017, when he was admitted to an inpatient unit for three months, but in October he made contact with them again.

'Not happy' at treatment

Following his overdose on 9 November 2017, Tyla's condition was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

The procedure to bring him out of an induced coma two days later was delayed and on 15 November he suffered a cardiac arrest, after which his parents agreed to switch off life support.

In a statement read in court, Ms Drake said she had consented on Tyla's behalf to treatment for the overdose but felt excluded from his further care.

"I felt they were doing things to Tyla without speaking to his parents first," she said. "We are not happy with the way Tyla was being treated."

She raised further concerns that Tyla had waited in the ambulance for more than two hours outside the hospital before being admitted. Her son, who had autism, had also been restrained in the vehicle, against instructions in his health passport.

The inquest continues.

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