Family calls for hospital changes

PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 April 2011

Clevedon Cottage Hospital

Clevedon Cottage Hospital

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Man choked to death

A GRIEVING family is calling for staff at Clevedon Cottage Hospital to be trained to use life-saving equipment after their loved one died from choking on a piece of meat.

Jeffrey Peters, aged 79, of Kingston Avenue, suffered from a stroke and was admitted to the Bristol Royal Infirmary in August 2010.

After his condition improved he was moved to Clevedon Cottage Hospital for rehabilitation, but just days later he choked on a piece of meat and died.

Clevedon Cottage Hospital does not have any resident doctors but GPs from the town’s surgeries visit on a daily basis and if there is an emergency staff call 999.

At an inquest into his death at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court on Monday, the court heard how the staff nurse Karen Hann called for emergency assistance after Mr Peters began choking on his food.

She tried to remove the blockage by hitting his back and using a suction tube, but it failed.

Medical staff carried out CPR until the paramedic arrived and was able to remove a number of pieces of meat from his throat using a laryngoscope and forceps, which staff at Clevedon Hospital are not trained to use.

However Mr Peters’ brain had been starved of oxygen before the food was removed and he died on September 1 at the BRI.

Mrs Hann confirmed that Clevedon Cottage Hospital is for patients who are medically stable and staff only have basic life support training.

His daughter Cora, who described Mr Peters as her rock, said: “Dad was desperate to get home, that’s why we said to go to Clevedon Hospital, but he might have well have been at home.

“If it says hospital you expect a certain level of care. You expect more than basic first aid.

“I would never have allowed my dad to go there if I’d realised the care wasn’t the same as at the BRI. We didn’t realise it was more like a nursing home.

“I want Clevedon Hospital to train somebody to use the forceps. Then maybe some good will come out of all this.”

A post mortem confirmed Mr Peters died of hypoxic brain injury caused by insufficient oxygen and a cardiac arrest.

Assistant deputy coroner Simon Fox recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: “We heard how Mr Peters was assessed as able to swallow normally and records suggest he was eating a varied diet including things which require the ability to cut food.

“Bristol is an acute hospital with a crash team, but that isn’t the case in a cottage hospital where patients should be medically stable and are there for rehabilitation.”

He added that due to the nature of the hospital he would not be making a recommendation that staff at Clevedon Cottage Hospital receive extra training.

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