Tag Archives: hospital

Alfie Evans: hospital may tighten security after abuse of medics

Alder Hey hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.

It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool, where 23-month-old Alfie died on Saturday morning, will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.

Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.

Peter-Marc Fortune, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments.

He said: “I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.

“In light of what’s happened, I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.”

The Guardian has learned that at least three foreign doctors carried out unauthorised medical assessments on Alfie under the guise of being family friends in visits arranged by “pro-life” campaigners.

There have also been concerns about the actions of supporters in other high-profile life-support cases, including the cases of Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, who both died in the past year after acrimonious legal battles between their parents and doctors.

In the Charlie Gard case, one of the family’s key campaigners was found roaming the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital asking the parents of seriously ill children to sign a petition.

Alder Hey staff were alarmed about the presence of two German air ambulance officials who were ejected from the hospital last week. It is understood they were previously in the hospital on 12 April when it was granted an emergency high court injunction to stop the baby being flown overseas by his father, Tom Evans, who was acting on legal advice from the Russian law student Pavel Stroilov, who works for the Christian Legal Centre.

The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with Pope Francis, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.

Fortune, who is president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.

The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s chairman and chief executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the front entrance.

Fortune said almost 20% of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment.

“The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way,” he said.

“The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.”

Alfie Evans: hospital may tighten security after abuse of medics

Alder Hey hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.

It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool, where 23-month-old Alfie died on Saturday morning, will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.

Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.

Peter-Marc Fortune, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments.

He said: “I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.

“In light of what’s happened, I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.”

The Guardian has learned that at least three foreign doctors carried out unauthorised medical assessments on Alfie under the guise of being family friends in visits arranged by “pro-life” campaigners.

There have also been concerns about the actions of supporters in other high-profile life-support cases, including the cases of Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, who both died in the past year after acrimonious legal battles between their parents and doctors.

In the Charlie Gard case, one of the family’s key campaigners was found roaming the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital asking the parents of seriously ill children to sign a petition.

Alder Hey staff were alarmed about the presence of two German air ambulance officials who were ejected from the hospital last week. It is understood they were previously in the hospital on 12 April when it was granted an emergency high court injunction to stop the baby being flown overseas by his father, Tom Evans, who was acting on legal advice from the Russian law student Pavel Stroilov, who works for the Christian Legal Centre.

The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with Pope Francis, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.

Fortune, who is president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.

The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s chairman and chief executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the front entrance.

Fortune said almost 20% of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment.

“The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way,” he said.

“The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.”

Alfie Evans: hospital may tighten security after abuse of medics

Alder Hey hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.

It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool, where 23-month-old Alfie died on Saturday morning, will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.

Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.

Peter-Marc Fortune, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments.

He said: “I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.

“In light of what’s happened, I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.”

The Guardian has learned that at least three foreign doctors carried out unauthorised medical assessments on Alfie under the guise of being family friends in visits arranged by “pro-life” campaigners.

There have also been concerns about the actions of supporters in other high-profile life-support cases, including the cases of Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, who both died in the past year after acrimonious legal battles between their parents and doctors.

In the Charlie Gard case, one of the family’s key campaigners was found roaming the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital asking the parents of seriously ill children to sign a petition.

Alder Hey staff were alarmed about the presence of two German air ambulance officials who were ejected from the hospital last week. It is understood they were previously in the hospital on 12 April when it was granted an emergency high court injunction to stop the baby being flown overseas by his father, Tom Evans, who was acting on legal advice from the Russian law student Pavel Stroilov, who works for the Christian Legal Centre.

The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with Pope Francis, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.

Fortune, who is president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.

The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s chairman and chief executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the front entrance.

Fortune said almost 20% of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment.

“The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way,” he said.

“The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.”

Alfie Evans: hospital may tighten security after abuse of medics

Alder Hey hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.

It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool, where 23-month-old Alfie died on Saturday morning, will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.

Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.

Peter-Marc Fortune, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments.

He said: “I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.

“In light of what’s happened, I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.”

The Guardian has learned that at least three foreign doctors carried out unauthorised medical assessments on Alfie under the guise of being family friends in visits arranged by “pro-life” campaigners.

There have also been concerns about the actions of supporters in other high-profile life-support cases, including the cases of Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, who both died in the past year after acrimonious legal battles between their parents and doctors.

In the Charlie Gard case, one of the family’s key campaigners was found roaming the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital asking the parents of seriously ill children to sign a petition.

Alder Hey staff were alarmed about the presence of two German air ambulance officials who were ejected from the hospital last week. It is understood they were previously in the hospital on 12 April when it was granted an emergency high court injunction to stop the baby being flown overseas by his father, Tom Evans, who was acting on legal advice from the Russian law student Pavel Stroilov, who works for the Christian Legal Centre.

The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with Pope Francis, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.

Fortune, who is president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.

The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s chairman and chief executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the front entrance.

Fortune said almost 20% of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment.

“The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way,” he said.

“The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.”

Alfie Evans: hospital may tighten security after abuse of medics

Alder Hey hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.

It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool, where 23-month-old Alfie died on Saturday morning, will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.

Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.

Peter-Marc Fortune, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments.

He said: “I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.

“In light of what’s happened, I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.”

The Guardian has learned that at least three foreign doctors carried out unauthorised medical assessments on Alfie under the guise of being family friends in visits arranged by “pro-life” campaigners.

There have also been concerns about the actions of supporters in other high-profile life-support cases, including the cases of Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, who both died in the past year after acrimonious legal battles between their parents and doctors.

In the Charlie Gard case, one of the family’s key campaigners was found roaming the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital asking the parents of seriously ill children to sign a petition.

Alder Hey staff were alarmed about the presence of two German air ambulance officials who were ejected from the hospital last week. It is understood they were previously in the hospital on 12 April when it was granted an emergency high court injunction to stop the baby being flown overseas by his father, Tom Evans, who was acting on legal advice from the Russian law student Pavel Stroilov, who works for the Christian Legal Centre.

The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with Pope Francis, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.

Fortune, who is president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.

The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s chairman and chief executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the front entrance.

Fortune said almost 20% of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment.

“The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way,” he said.

“The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.”

Alfie Evans: hospital may tighten security after abuse of medics

Alder Hey hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.

It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool, where 23-month-old Alfie died on Saturday morning, will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.

Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.

Peter-Marc Fortune, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments.

He said: “I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.

“In light of what’s happened I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.”

The Guardian has learned that at least three foreign doctors carried out unauthorised medical assessments on Alfie under the guise of being family friends in visits arranged by “pro-life” campaigners.

There have also been concerns about the actions of supporters in other high-profile life-support cases, including the cases of Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, who both died in the past year amid acrimonious legal battles between their parents and doctors.

In the Charlie Gard case, one of the family’s key campaigners was found roaming the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital asking the parents of seriously ill children to sign a petition.

Alder Hey staff were also alarmed about the presence of two German air ambulance officials who were ejected from the hospital last week. It is understood they were previously in the hospital on 12 April when the hospital was granted an emergency high court injunction to stop the baby being flown overseas by his father, Tom Evans, who was acting on legal advice from the Russian law student Pavel Stroilov who works for the Christian Legal Centre.

The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with the pope, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie, and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.

Fortune, who is also president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.

The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s chairman and chief executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the hospital’s front entrance.

Fortune said almost 20% of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment. He added: “The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way.

“The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.”

Dementia patients ‘dehumanised’ by hospital restraint techniques – report

Hospital staff are sometimes confining patients with dementia to bed through controversial “containment and restraint” techniques, new government-funded research reveals.

The findings, paid for by the National Institute for Health Research, reveal that nurses and healthcare assistants are raising the siderails of beds and tucking bedsheets tightly around patients with dementia, reducing their mobility. Others are prevented from getting up by their walking frames being put out of reach or by being sedated with drugs. The techniques are used, say the researchers, because of an exaggerated fear that patients will fall if left to move around the ward freely. The study says the tactics lead to the “dehumanisation” of patients, leaving them angry and highly stressed and worsening their already poor health.

The findings, which have been shared with the Observer, have triggered a fresh row over how the NHS treats people with dementia, who occupy up to half the beds in some hospitals. Dr Eileen Burns, president of the British Geriatrics Society, which represents doctors, nurses and therapists who work with older people, said: “These findings are a huge concern. Sometimes the use of containment techniques is not justified.”

Burns added that too many ward staff perform “a custodial role” towards inpatients with dementia, though she said containment was sometimes needed to benefit the patient’s own health, as when bandages were placed over drips so they cannot be removed.

The research was undertaken by Dr Katie Featherstone, a reader in the sociology of medicine at Cardiff University and Dr Andy Northcott, a lecturer in allied health sciences at De Montfort University, Leicester. They studied in detail how dementia patients in 10 wards of five unnamed hospitals in England and Wales were treated over the course of 18 months. It was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the Department of Health and Social Care’s research arm.

The researchers found that many dementia patients resist and reject the care provided to them in hospital because they are unhappy at their treatment, sometimes refusing to eat, or removing drips. Many protest at regimented regimes of fixed mealtimes and drug rounds they encounter while being treated for an ailment such as a breathing problem, broken bone or a urinary tract infection.

“At the bedside, staff response to resistance to care was one of containment and restraint. Raising the side rails of the bed or tucking bed sheets in tightly around the patient were both common means to contain a patient within the bed,” the study says. “For those sitting at the bedside, the close placement of the mobile tray table, unreachable walking frames and technologies such as chair alarms were used to contain people and keep them sitting in their bedside chair.”

Featherstone and Northcott conclude that the way staff deal with dementia patients, and the use of containment techniques, is “frequently the trigger of resistance or cause of patient anxiety”, though staff sometimes wrongly blame that on the dementia itself.

Their findings echo previous reports detailing inadequate care received by dementia patients published by Sir Robert Francis and the Care Quality Commission amongst others.

Featherstone told the Observer: “People with dementia on wards generally have early to mid-stage dementia. But part of the problem is that when they are admitted to an acute ward, staff see them as having late-stage dementia, so assume they can’t eat, drink, stand, walk or go to the bathroom independently, even though they still can, and don’t let them keep doing these things. Staff see them as being quite helpless, even though they aren’t.

“When staff react like that, that breeds resentment and high levels of anxiety and resistance to care, for example patients refusing to take their medication, and triggers unhappiness. It’s very isolating and scary for people with dementia to be in hospital. They are a difficult population to handle, and very needy, and I think there’s a strong sense that staff resent them being there,” she said.

Burns said containment was sometimes needed to benefit the patient’s own health, for example, putting a bandage over a drip so it cannot be removed. Lack of staff means nurses do not have the time to talk to patients about their lives or look at old photographs with them to give them mental stimulus, she added.

Q&A

What are the financial pressures on the NHS that have built up over the last decade?

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, health spending increased by an average of 1.2% above inflation and increases are due to continue in real terms at a similar rate until the end of this parliament. This is far below the annual inflation-proof growth rate that the NHS enjoyed before 2010 of almost 4% stretching back to the 1950s. As budgets tighten, NHS organisations have been struggling to live within their means. In the financial year 2015-16, acute trusts recorded a deficit of £2.6bn. This was reduced to £800m last year, though only after a £1.8bn bung from the Department of Health, which shows the deficit remained the same year on year.

Read a full Q&A on the NHS winter crisis

The Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment on the use of containment and restraint.

A spokeswoman said: “We expect everyone with dementia to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. That’s why we invested £50 million to make hospitals and care homes dementia-friendly.

“More than 875,000 NHS staff have undertaken awareness raising activities and we continue to support [NHS] trusts to sign up to the Dementia Action Alliance’s Dementia Friendly Hospital Charter.”

Competitive eater taken to hospital after eating world’s hottest chilli pepper

A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest ended up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world.

After eating a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34-year-old started dry heaving before developing a pain in his neck that turned into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and severe episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute.

The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016 – although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly surpassed it.

The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, reveal the pain was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State.

“[A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting – and then it gets better on its own. But it keeps coming back,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots.

CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems.

But when the medical team tried another type of CT scan designed to look at the blood vessels in the brain, they had a surprise. A number of arteries in the brain had narrowed, and as a result the team decided it was a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), which probably caused the thunderclap headache. The diagnosis was backed up by a scan five weeks later showing the arteries had returned to normal. In rare cases, said Gunasekaran, RCVS can cause a stroke.

While such narrowing of the blood vessels can be triggered by certain medications or drugs, the team found nothing of the sort when they screened the man’s urine. Instead, they say, it is likely the Carolina Reaper was to blame.

It’s not the first time chilli peppers have triggered serious repercussions.

“Actually, when we were looking at the literature we found a couple of cases similar to our case,” said Gunasekaran.

Weight-loss pills made from another type of chilli pepper are believed to have caused a heart attack in a 25-year-old man by triggering a sudden narrowing of the coronary artery, and a 33-year-old man died from a heart attack after eating a super-hot sauce he had cooked up from homegrown chillies.

In 2016 a 47-year-old man had a brush with death after he tore his oesophagus by retching and straining after eating pureed ghost pepper.

Competitive eater taken to hospital after eating world’s hottest chilli pepper

A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest ended up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world.

After eating a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34-year-old started dry heaving before developing a pain in his neck that turned into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and severe episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute.

The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016 – although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly surpassed it.

The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, reveal the pain was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State.

“[A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting – and then it gets better on its own. But it keeps coming back,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots.

CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems.

But when the medical team tried another type of CT scan designed to look at the blood vessels in the brain, they had a surprise. A number of arteries in the brain had narrowed, and as a result the team decided it was a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), which probably caused the thunderclap headache. The diagnosis was backed up by a scan five weeks later showing the arteries had returned to normal. In rare cases, said Gunasekaran, RCVS can cause a stroke.

While such narrowing of the blood vessels can be triggered by certain medications or drugs, the team found nothing of the sort when they screened the man’s urine. Instead, they say, it is likely the Carolina Reaper was to blame.

It’s not the first time chilli peppers have triggered serious repercussions.

“Actually, when we were looking at the literature we found a couple of cases similar to our case,” said Gunasekaran.

Weight-loss pills made from another type of chilli pepper are believed to have caused a heart attack in a 25-year-old man by triggering a sudden narrowing of the coronary artery, and a 33-year-old man died from a heart attack after eating a super-hot sauce he had cooked up from homegrown chillies.

In 2016 a 47-year-old man had a brush with death after he tore his oesophagus by retching and straining after eating pureed ghost pepper.

Competitive eater taken to hospital after eating world’s hottest chilli pepper

A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest ended up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world.

After eating a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34-year-old started dry heaving before developing a pain in his neck that turned into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and severe episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute.

The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016 – although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly surpassed it.

The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, reveal the pain was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State.

“[A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting – and then it gets better on its own. But it keeps coming back,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots.

CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems.

But when the medical team tried another type of CT scan designed to look at the blood vessels in the brain, they had a surprise. A number of arteries in the brain had narrowed, and as a result the team decided it was a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), which probably caused the thunderclap headache. The diagnosis was backed up by a scan five weeks later showing the arteries had returned to normal. In rare cases, said Gunasekaran, RCVS can cause a stroke.

While such narrowing of the blood vessels can be triggered by certain medications or drugs, the team found nothing of the sort when they screened the man’s urine. Instead, they say, it is likely the Carolina Reaper was to blame.

It’s not the first time chilli peppers have triggered serious repercussions.

“Actually, when we were looking at the literature we found a couple of cases similar to our case,” said Gunasekaran.

Weight-loss pills made from another type of chilli pepper are believed to have caused a heart attack in a 25-year-old man by triggering a sudden narrowing of the coronary artery, and a 33-year-old man died from a heart attack after eating a super-hot sauce he had cooked up from homegrown chillies.

In 2016 a 47-year-old man had a brush with death after he tore his oesophagus by retching and straining after eating pureed ghost pepper.