A “healthy” teenager who died after developing coronavirus could have been saved if he had been diagnosed earlier, according to Italian authorities.
Luca Di Nicola, 19, from the town of Nereto in eastern Italy, died at the North Middlesex Hospital in north London on 24 March.
According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he developed a cough and a fever a week before dying but his condition was dismissed as a cold.
The NHS has been asked to comment.
A spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement a 19-year-old man had “very sadly” died “soon after” arriving at A&E. He tested positive for Covid-19 after he died.
The deputy mayor of Nereto, Maria Angela Lelii, told the BBC there would be “a different conversation” had Mr Di Nicola returned to Italy for treatment.
According to La Repubblica, Mr Di Nicola’s family said the teenage chef was “extremely healthy”.
The newspaper quotes them as saying he was given paracetamol by his GP when he first developed symptoms.
His condition reportedly deteriorated on 23 March and he was visited at home by his GP, who is said to have told him, “you’re young, strong and you shouldn’t worry about this bad influenza”.
The next day the teenager reported chest pains before he collapsed, the paper reports.
‘Tragedy within a tragedy’
His mother called the emergency services and he was taken into intensive care but died about half an hour later.
“To learn of Luca’s death in our small community of 5,600 souls where almost everyone knows each other was devastating, a tragedy within a tragedy,” Ms Lelii told the BBC.
“That was made worse by the discovery that he tested positive for coronavirus because he could have won this battle had he had appropriate treatment.
“And I state with even more conviction that had he returned to Italy, now we would be having a very different conversation.”
The hospital spokesperson said “our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones at this difficult time”.