Who is Kellie Poole? Woman Dies During Cold Water Therapy

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Kellie Poole died when her heart stopped beating during a cold water therapy session in a river, an inquest heard.

Kellie Poole, 39, was laughing and joking after entering the water with two friends before complaining of a headache and suddenly falling forwards.

She was dragged on to the bank of the River Goyt in Derbyshire but was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

An inquest yesterday heard the water was 10.7C when Mrs Poole, from Droylsden in Tameside, Greater Manchester, and her friends took part in the session in April last year.

They had booked a breathing and cold water immersion experience with instructor Kevin O’Neill who charges up to £200 through his Breatheolution company based in Buxworth, Derbyshire. Mr O’Neill, who has 18,000 followers on Instagram, describes himself as a qualified ‘Advanced Oxygen Advantage Instructor’ and cold water therapist, and has a number of celebrity clients including Coleen Rooney, 37, who has posed in the River Goyt with brothers Joe and Anthony McLoughlin. Actor Stephen Graham is also a client.

At the inquest yesterday, senior coroner Peter Nieto said cold water immersion was ‘fairly lightly regulated if regulated at all’. He said he would be considering if regulations should be recommended in the future.

What is cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy is the practice of using water that’s around 59F (15C) to treat health conditions. It’s also known as cold hydrotherapy.

The practice has been around for thousands of years but the trend has recently seen a revival with ice baths, outdoor swims, and cold water immersion therapy sessions.

It is believed the therapy can improve your circulation, deepen your sleep, spike your energy levels, and reduce inflammation in your body.

However, not much research has been done to support the claims. Also, it affects your blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation and so can lead to cardiac stress.

There have been a number of reports of deaths from exposure and heart attacks.

Source: Healthline

Mrs Poole’s friend of 26 years, Alex Killeen-Fitzgerald, described how the pals practised some breathing techniques with Mr O’Neill before entering the water but believed he was in a ‘rush’ and was ‘mindful of the time’ as his wife had an appointment later that afternoon. She said they then entered the water in their bathing suits.

She told the hearing: ‘It was cold but not unbearable. Kevin kept reminding us to breathe like he had taught us.’ They initially went in up to their waist. ‘All three of us were holding hands and were giggling and having a really great time,’ she said.

But she told how mother-of-three Mrs Poole then complained of a headache, with Mr O’Neill suggesting she splashed water on her face while he scooped some on the back of her head.

‘I was about to put my shoulders under the water when I noticed Kellie coming towards me,’ she said.

‘I thought she was walking towards me but she was actually falling – very quickly I realised she was falling.’

They managed to get Mrs Poole out of the water and on to the bank where Mr O’Neill started performing CPR while Victoria Fielding, another friend, called an ambulance.

A post-mortem examination, carried out by consultant pathologist Dr Abed Zaitoun, said she died as a result of ‘sudden cardiac death’, caused by left ventricular hypertrophy, a thickening of the walls of the lower left heart chamber.

Giving his evidence, Dr Zaitoun said Mrs Poole was obese according to her body mass index, and her heart was heavier than expected, which could have contributed to her death.

The 39-year-old had been attending the session with two friends when she went into cardiac arrest and was later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics

Dr Zaitoun said he could not be certain that cold water had caused the sudden cardiac event but agreed it could have contributed.

Cardiologist Damian Kelly said Mrs Poole had a ‘significantly heavy and large heart’.

When asked by the coroner whether he thought it was more likely than not that cold water could have triggered a cardiac arrest, Dr Kelly said: ‘Yes, I think that is what has happened. It is difficult not to see it as relevant.’ The inquest also heard from environmental health officer Dawn Forrester who investigated Mrs Poole’s death for High Peak Borough Council.

She said that as Mr O’Neill was a sole trader, no risk assessment was carried out and was not required by law. She said he also did not have an up-to-date first aid certificate. But she said: ‘I don’t think this situation could have been anticipated. To be fair, he seemed extremely well informed. I think he mentioned at the time taking around 1,000 people in the water without any detrimental effects.’

Giving evidence, Miss Fielding said it was a ‘mild’ day but that the group were ‘shivering’ prior to entering the water.

She said she did not recall being asked to sign a waiver form but was instead asked questions by Mr O’Neill, before they completed around 15 minutes of breathing exercises prior to entering the water.

The inquest, at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court, continues. Mr O’Neill, who was represented in court by barrister Jennifer Ferrario, is due to give evidence this week.

Source: DailyMail


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