Care home resident from Ulverston died at Furness General Hospital after inhaling food

CARE home staff ‘did all they could’ for a man with severe health conditions who died in hospital after inhaling food, an inquest heard.

Assistant coroner Robert Cohen refuted claims in a mortuary report which suggested more could have been done to prevent Ian Norman King’s death.

A review heard the Ulverston man had problems swallowing food and said staff at Abbey Meadow care home in Barrow had put all the right procedures in place.

The 78-year-old had a history of choking when eating – which is why staff at the care home put him onto a pureed food diet, the Coroner’s Court in Cockermouth was told.

The Coniston-born man was living in Ulverston before he was admitted to the care home in August 2020 after suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage – the main cause of his ingestion problems.

Following an x-ray of his chest on July 16, 2021 he returned to the care home where he said he wanted food as he was hungry.

CCncerned for the diabetic man’s blood sugar levels they fed him which led to him choking – something staff explained was not out of the ordinary, the inquest heard.

Registered nurse Sharon Baker said in a statement: “When he returned from his x-ray he was increasingly distressed.

“The decision was made for him to be admitted into hospital. He was very unwell and was deteriorating.”

He was taken to Furness General Hospital where he was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia from which he died that day.

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, instead of being swallowed into the oesophagus and stomach.

Care staff described the former Coniston quarry worker as someone they knew ‘very little about’ and did not to have any family or children left. However, he was said to have a ‘great passion for collecting toy cars and postcards’.

A review suggested that Mr King ‘ran the risk of aspiration (inhaling food) every time he had a meal’ and to not give him his meals would have been wrong.

The pathologist report revealed there was evidence of food in his lungs.

The coroner said this was ‘a natural consequence of his medical conditions’ which included congestive cardiac failure, kidney failure and subarachnoid haemorrhage.

“This death was by natural causes,” Mr Cohen concluded.

The Westmorland Gazette | News