Coroner’s inquest into death of teen at Ontario school for blind children to begin

A coroner’s inquest into the death of a disabled teen who was in the care of an Ontario school for blind children is set to begin today.

The inquest for Samuel Brown begins at 10 a.m. and is expected to hear from 13 witnesses over 10 days.

Brown, who was born with a genetic condition that left him blind, deaf and non-verbal, died five years ago at the age of 18 while attending the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ont.

His family has said medical experts disagreed about what led to his death and alleged he was in good health the weekend before he died.

They’ve said that only 12 hours passed between the time they received a phone call indicating their son was slightly unwell and when he was pronounced dead in hospital. 

The inquest is expected to examine the circumstances around Brown’s death and a jury could make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths.

His parents, Andrea and Gladstone Brown, began campaigning for a province-led investigation into the matter in fall 2019, saying medical officials had reached conflicting conclusions about their son’s death.

The Browns said the investigating coroner produced a report saying their son had died of natural causes, while a follow-up autopsy report concluded he had died of pneumonia, which only deepened their confusion.

They say the inquest will hopefully provide answers for their family and do more to protect a future generation of vulnerable students.

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