8-Year-Old Boy Dies After Inhaling Helium From His Birthday Balloon

A coroner has ruled a case of accidental death after an 8-year-old boy inhaled helium from one of his birthday balloons, causing him to have a fatal cardiac arrest in Dublin, Ireland.


Luke Ramone Harper died after inhaling helium from one of his birthday balloons
Luke Ramone Harper died after inhaling helium from one of his birthday balloons

An 8-year-old boy was found unresponsive in his bedroom after he had inhaled helium from a birthday balloon that had been bought for his party.


Luke Ramone Harper suffered fatal brain injuries after he put the number-eight-shaped balloon over his head at his home in Dublin last year.


The young boy was pronounced dead at Temple Street Children's Hospital the next day, April 2.


The boy's mother, Hilary McSweeney, told an inquest that Luke had been playing upstairs the previous afternoon.



She described how she went upstairs to get him when he didn't respond to calls for him and his sister to come down for dinner at around 5 pm.


His mum told the inquest how she found her son, who had ADHD, and autism, lying face down on the floor with the balloon completely over his head.


Ms McSweeney explained how the partially deflated balloon had been up in her son's bedroom since his birthday the week before.


The inquest heard how Ms Sweeney and Martin Harper (Luke's dad) rushed the young boy outside into the fresh air and gave him chest compressions while waiting for an ambulance.


Luke suffered a cardiac arrest after being rushed to hospital.


Doctors had to deliver the devasting news to both parents the following day, telling them that they had to say their final goodbyes.


The family took prints of Luke's hands and feet and snippets of his hair as mementos of his life.



At the inquest, Ms McSweeney said: "I felt numb, heartbroken and in a pain you can't imagine."


A post-mortem examination concluded that Luke had died as a result of a lack of oxygen to the brain due to cardiac arrest caused by the inhalation of helium from a partially-deflated balloon.


The coroner, Crona Gallagher returned a verdict of accidental death.


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