Search

Joe Benett’s doctor remembers ‘tragic lesson’ of Hampstead schoolboy’s death from toxic aerosol

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 August 2014

Dr John Brook who is doing a 100-mile cycle ride in memory of Joe Benett. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Dr John Brook who is doing a 100-mile cycle ride in memory of Joe Benett. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A doctor whose teenage patient died after inhaling a cocktail of toxic gases has urged other youngsters not to forget the “tragic lesson” of his death.

Joseph BennettJoseph Bennett

Dr John Brook encouraged young people to take heed of 17-year-old Joe Benett’s death, as he prepares to tackle a gruelling 100-mile charity bike ride in memory of the Hampstead schoolboy.

Joe, who attended University College School in Frognal, died in September 2012 after breathing in a mixture of dangerous gases from a spray can at a friend’s house one Friday night.

He wrongly believed the aerosol contained nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” – a popular drug for some teenage party-goers – but it was instead filled with toxic substances including butane, which is used as lighter fuel, and pentane, which is used to make polystyrene.

Dr Brook, who was Joe’s family GP for most of his life, said: “As a doctor you expect that people die, but you don’t expect lively 17-year-old, healthy people to die, in such tragic circumstances.

“I try very hard to make young people aware of the risk of drugs and what could happen to them, if they either suffer a side effect or a catastrophe.

“This is a tragic lesson that I hope young people will remember – and not look at it as just something that could not happen to them. The impact it has had on his family and friends is just so devastating.”

The 68-year-old, who himself has three grown-up children, is riding the London Bikeathon, a 100-mile route that takes in several tough climbs ­including Box Hill in Surrey, on August 31 – the same date that Joe inhaled the gases in 2012.

The teenager, who lived in West Heath Drive, Golders Green, suffered convulsions and a cardiac arrest, went into a coma, and died four weeks later on September 27.

Last May, a coroner ruled that his death was accidental.

Dr Brook, whose private practice is based at his home in ­Oakhill Avenue, Hampstead, has so far raised more than £15,000.

The money will be split between the charities Leukemia & Lymphoma Research and St John’s Hospice, which is connected to the hospital where Joe died – the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in Grove End Road, St John’s Wood.

The doctor, who has previously completed six marathons, added: “He was a very lively, interesting, kind and very well-liked young man, and I was devastated for his family, but also very upset personally, because I had known him for such a long time.

“I will never forget him and this is just a way of me remembering him.

“He just had a sort of enormous zest for life, and he was such a pleasure to look after and a fun person to deal with as a doctor, and that made it so much more devastating when the tragedy happened.”

n Visit justgiving.com/John-Brook2 to support Dr Brook’s cycle ride.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

12:57

A team of Hampstead schoolgirls have beaten 8,000 rivals to reach the final of a competition to find the best code breakers of the future.

The three boroughs, along with three other local authorities, each secured a share of £1.7 million from the government to support more residents affected by homelessness.

Yesterday, 13:45

On April 1 the resounding sounds of a “quiet drink” will echo around Hampstead as a group of rugby players return to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their club.

Yesterday, 13:44

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls embraced new technology by building robots and rockets as part of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) week.

Yesterday, 09:49

A community desperately trying to protect a Highgate nature reserve from traffic has slammed the council for offering developers a temporary licence to drive lorries over Parkland Walk.

Wed, 16:53

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq has confirmed she is safe and well after a suspected terrorist attack near the Houses of Parliament.

Wed, 14:52

The Golders Green war memorial, designed without a crucifix because of the Jewish population in the area who had lost loved ones, could be knocked down and moved elsewhere.

Wed, 13:45

A group of fearless Coleridge Primary School students have taken a public speaking competition by storm.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

The Ham&High has teamed up with Weber® to celebrate the launch of its innovative Genesis® II collection at Weber® World at Sunshine Garden Centre in London.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now