Joshua Fleuelling (easy version)

Joshua Fleuelling was eighteen years old when he died. He lived in Toronto, in central Canada. For many years before he died, Jonathan had had asthma—a disease that makes breathing difficult.

When Joshua’s asthma got very bad, he used a special machine to help him breathe. That was what he did on the evening of January 14, 2000 when he was having trouble breathing. However, that time the machine didn’t help, and at 1:00 a.m. on January 15, Joshua got much worse. He fell over. His mother called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived in eight minutes. Just after they arrived, Joshua’s heart stopped beating. The ambulance crew tried to get it going again, but they failed. They tried again during the eighteen-minute trip to the hospital, but once again they failed.

At the hospital, the doctors did get Joshua’s heart beating again but his brain had been damaged because it had gone for too long without oxygen. The doctors knew this meant that Joshua would never become conscious again. They used machines to keep him alive until some parts of his body could be given to other people.

The hospital Joshua was taken to was not the nearest one to his home. There was a closer one only ten minutes away. But that hospital was very busy, and they wouldn’t take Joshua even though he was in danger of dying.

The day after Joshua died, the rules were changed. It was decided that, in future, even if a hospital was very busy it would have to take someone who was in danger of dying.

Despite these changes, about a year after Joshua died, his father decided to sue the hospital that wouldn’t take Joshua and, also, the ambulance company. He said they were to blame for Joshua's death.

- information from: "The Toronto Star," 00.01.16 and 01.01.30

a disease that makes breathing difficult

a person who is conscious knows what is happening around them.

the gas that makes up 21% of the air we breathe. (People and animals need it to live.)

if you “sue” someone, you try to get a court to make them pay you for harm they have done to you. (The noun form of “sue” is “suit,”or “lawsuit.”)