Coroner’s jury calls for medical resources at Ontario schools for children with disabilities

A jury at an inquest into the death of a disabled teenager who died at a school for blind students has recommended that the province review the availability of overnight medical resources provided to schools serving children with disabilities.

Jurors in the Samuel Brown death inquest also suggested that the provincial government develop and implement policies to ensure and improve the 24-hour availability of medical personnel for students who remain in those schools.

The suggestions are among 21 recommendations from jurors who heard the case of Brown, 18, who died five years ago while attending W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ont.

Brown’s family said the teenager, born with a genetic condition that left him blind, deaf and non-verbal, was healthy the weekend before he died at school.

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The inquest jury concluded that Brown died of natural causes, from acute bronchopneumonia.

Jurors recommend that medical training be provided to staff at schools for children with disabilities on how to identify potential early symptoms of aspiration pneumonia, as well as mandatory training in ableism, with an emphasis on dangers it poses to people with disabilities.

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