Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018
 

Report: Man who collapsed in Castro died of heart disease

The area of Market Street where Thomas Smallwood died after collapsing in August. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn

The area of Market Street where Thomas Smallwood died after collapsing in August. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn

A gay San Francisco man who died in August on a street in the city’s Castro neighborhood died of hypertensive heart disease, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office has determined. The ailment results from high blood pressure and can lead to heart failure.

Thomas Smallwood, 75, was walking to a bar with his boyfriend August 7 when he said he wasn’t feeling well, Tyler Smallwood, 36, one of Smallwood’s sons, said in an interview just after his father died.

According to the medical examiner’s report, which was made public this week, Smallwood had “appeared disoriented” the morning he died, and as he and his boyfriend crossed Market at about 11:40 a.m., Smallwood, who had asthma and other health troubles, “stumbled and possibly fell.” They headed back to the car for his medication, but when they got there, Smallwood “collapsed and became unresponsive,” the report, which cites police and other sources, says.

A passerby called 911. When emergency services workers arrived, Smallwood was “pulseless,” according to the medical examiner’s office. Life support was performed, but Smallwood was pronounced dead at noon.

He had an open wound on his head, which the agency said was possibly from the collapse. There was no evidence of illicit drug use, alcohol, or tobacco in his pockets or in his car.

Along with a history of hypertension, Smallwood had also had pulmonary disease and other problems, the report says.

The toxicology report lists tramadol, a pain reliever, and other drugs in his system, but nothing illegal.

Smallwood had lived in San Francisco for more than 20 years and “loved San Francisco his whole life,” Tyler Smallwood said.

He liked to socialize in the Castro and was an active member of First Congregational Church of San Francisco, where he was the treasurer and a steering committee member.

The Reverend David Cowell, 52, of San Francisco, said in August that Smallwood “was just a dear, just a sweet man who basically touched people’s lives in a positive way wherever he went.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 14, 2016 @ 2:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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