A teenager has died after suffering an asthma attack in the parking lot of a shopping mall.
Harley Barnbrook, 16, from the West Midlands region of England, experienced the attack on February 15 outside the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near the town of Dudley.
Security guards who were nearby at the time performed first aid on the boy until paramedics arrived, a mall spokesperson said in a statement.
After emergency responders arrived at the scene, they rushed Barnbrook to a local hospital in critical condition. However, doctors were unable to save the teenager and he passed away later that day.
Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs, causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. It is characterized by the swelling and subsequent narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA,) approximately 25 million people in the U.S. have the disease—equivalent to around one in 13 Americans.
On average, around ten Americans die from the disease every day, AAFA figures show. In 2019, more than 3,500 people died from the disease in the country.
Following the incident involving Harley Barnbrook, a spokesperson from Merry Hill Shopping Centre issued a statement on Tuesday saying: “This afternoon a visitor suffered an isolated medical emergency in one of the car parks at the center.”
“Our security team first aiders immediately sought to provide assistance while paramedics were en-route. The individual was subsequently transferred to hospital and our thoughts are with their friends and family at this extremely difficult time.”
In a statement released on behalf of the family, the boy’s mother, father and sister paid tribute to the medical team who tried to save the teenager.
“Following Tuesday’s tragic asthma attack Harley was taken to Russell’s Hall Hospital where he received excellent and compassionate care from the staff within ICU,” said the statement, which was provided to BlackCountryLive.
“Mother Kelly, dad Dean and sister Sienna would like to pay thanks to all the staff during this extremely difficult time, the continuity of care received was truly touching.”
Since his death, tributes have been paid to the 16-year-old, who was a keen sportsman and well-known in the local soccer community.
The family’s statement said: “Harley was well known in grassroots football and played for many teams in the area including Dudley Town, Halesowen Town Colts and most recently Lye Town.”
“Harley was loved by many of team mates and had an infectious personality. Harley lived for sports (especially football) where it was a family affair with dad, mom and often grandad coming along to support Harley and the team.”
A soccer game on Monday between Dudley Town Juniors and Lye Town Juniors will hold a minute’s silence beforehand followed by a clap on the sixteenth minute in honor of Barnbrook. Many of the players from both teams have played with the 16-year-old before. All proceeds from the game will be donated to the family.