Musician, 40, died after suffering a ‘catastrophic’ brain haemorrhage ‘induced by his first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine’, inquest hears
A professional musician died after suffering a brain haemorrhage ‘induced by his first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine’, an inquest has heard.
Matthew Dibble, 40, suffered a ‘catastrophic’ episode just two days after he self-presented at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London complaining of a headache on May 8.
The aspiring concert pianist, one of four brothers, was described as ‘a musician of extraordinary depth, breadth, and talent’ and ‘uncle to three girls and three boys’.
An inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court on Tuesday heard he underwent emergency surgery to reduce swelling on his brain, but died just hours later.
Assistant Coroner Dr Julian Morris told the court a post mortem had listed ‘vaccine induced brain haemorrhage’ as a contributing factor to his death.
Mr Dibble was said to be suffering from a headache ‘shortly after’ receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Matthew Dibble, 40, was described as ‘a musician of extraordinary depth, breadth, and talent’ and ‘uncle to three girls and three boys’
Mr Dibble was an aspiring concert pianist and was working on a ‘number of projects’ before his death
He presented at St Thomas’ Hospital, but his headache was said to be ‘minor’, the inquest was told.
The court heard doctors told Mr Dibble he had a ‘normal platelet count’ and a CT scan had not revealed anything of concern.
He was sent to his home in Lewisham, south London, and advised to return to hospital if his condition worsened.
However, two days later he was found by his mother ‘drowsy and atonic’, the inquest heard.
She called an ambulance and Mr Dibble was rushed to King’s College Hospital in Camberwell.
Tests revealed his platelet count, namely a count of the cells that circulate within blood, had dropped significantly.
Mr Dibble was also found to be suffering from ‘a right side haemorrhage’ caused by ‘extensive cerebral venous sinus thrombosis’ – where a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses and prevents blood from draining.
The musician underwent an emergency craniectomy, the temporary removal of part of the skull, and burr hole surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
He then developed further swelling, though, that was ‘deemed a catastrophic event’ and died in hospital on May 12, the court heard.
A subsequent post mortem returned a primary cause of death of brain stem herniation.
Mr Dibble (right) pictured alongside chef Jamie Oliver (left) in 2015. Mr Dibble described himself as a ‘composer, performer, producer and multi-instrumentalist’
Dr Morris added that cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and vaccine induced brain haemorrhage were also listed on the post mortem.
He confirmed a full inquest will take place into the ‘unnatural death’ on a date still to be fixed.
A fundraising page was created following his death to cover the costs of recording the ‘number of projects’ he was working on while alive.
The page, created by Mr Dibble’s ‘loving friends’, said: ‘His death was an unjust and devastating tragedy for his loving family. He was one of four close brothers, and an adored uncle to three girls and three boys.
‘To them, as well as his friends and fellow musicians, he was an individual of uncommon kindness, who was relentlessly considerate to everyone he knew, despite the well-known struggles of a life dedicated to music.
‘He was also a musician of extraordinary depth, breadth, and talent.’
‘Matt was working with many of us on a number of projects, some of which are now bearing fruit. But few of us knew about a secret and deeply personal undertaking, on which he’d slaved away for six straight years, remarkably finishing just weeks before he passed.
‘It meant so much to him that, when he first went to hospital, he told those with him where the compositions could be found, should anything happen.’
His family were able to retrieve the compositions, describing them as work that ‘demonstrated astonishing courage and passion’.
The page added that award-winning pianist Freddy Kempf had agreed to record the compositions and help to ‘explore options to publish the recording around the world’.
The fundraising effort saw contributions amounting to £17,395, surpassing the £16,000 target to ‘cover the costs associated with the recording’.
What is the risk of getting blood clot after AstraZeneca’s jab?
Earlier this year, British health chiefs recommended all under-40s are offered an alternative to AstraZeneca’s vaccine because of blood clot fears.
According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, as of September 1 there have been 416 cases of VITT and 72 deaths.
But statisticians analysed the numbers and found rates were slightly higher among younger adults, with females appearing to be at most risk, too.
Cambridge academics estimated around 1.9 in every 100,000 twenty-somethings given AstraZeneca’s jab would suffer serious blood clots alongside abnormally low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia) — the specific disorder linked to the jab. For thirty-somethings the figure was 1.5.
They compared that against the average number of Covid intensive care admissions that would be prevented by giving that cohort the jab. And they then analysed the risk/benefit ratio in different scenarios, based entirely on how widespread the disease was at the time.
For example, only 0.2 ICU admissions would be prevented for every 100,000 twenty-somethings given the jab at prevalence levels seen in April (fewer than 30,000 infections per week). For adults in their thirties, the figure was around 0.8.
It showed, however, the benefits of giving AstraZeneca’s vaccine to 40-49 year olds outweighed the potential risk (1.7 prevented ICU admissions per 100,000 people compared to 1.2 blood clots).
But the decision to recommend under-40s are offered Pfizer or Moderna’s jab instead was basically only taken because the outbreak was squashed to extremely low levels, as well as the fact younger people are known to face tiny odds of falling seriously ill with coronavirus.
For older adults, who the disease poses a much greater threat to, the benefits of vaccination are clear, regulators insist. Jabs have already saved around 13,000 lives in England, top scientists believe.
However, because there were so few blood clots, it made it impossible for No10’s vaccine advisory panel to give an exact age cut-off. Instead, they were only able to analyse figures by decade.
The first clots to alarm people were ones appearing in veins near the brains of younger adults in a condition called CSVT (cerebral sinus venous thrombosis).
Since that, however, people have developed clots in other parts of their bodies and they are usually linked to low numbers of platelets, which is unusual because platelets are usually used by the immune system to build the clots.
In most cases people recover fully and the blockages are generally easy to treat if spotted early, but they can trigger strokes or heart or lung problems if unnoticed.
Symptoms depend entirely on where the clot is, with brain blockages causing excruitiating headaches. Clots in major arteries in the abdomen can cause persistent stomach pain, and ones in the leg can cause swelling of the limbs.
Researchers in Germany believe the problem lies in the adenovirus vector — a common cold virus used so both vaccines can enter the body.
Academics investigating the issue say the complication is ‘completely absent’ in mRNA vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s because they have a different delivery mechanism.
Experts at Goethe-University of Frankfurt and Ulm University, in Helmholtz, say the AstraZeneca vaccine enters the nucleus of the cell – a blob of DNA in the middle. For comparison, the Pfizer jab enters the fluid around it that acts as a protein factory.
Bits of coronavirus proteins that get inside the nucleus can break up and the unusual fragments then get expelled out into the bloodstream, where they can trigger clotting in a tiny number of people, scientists claim.