Man with Down’s syndrome died after ‘hospital left him without food for 10 days’Megan Orito
Man with Down’s syndrome died after ‘hospital left him without food for 10 days’.
Image credit – monkeybusinessimages
A man with Down’s syndrome died in hospital after going 10 days without being fed, an inquest has heard.
Giuseppe Ulleri, also known as Joe, was being treated at Manchester Royal Infirmary in March 2016 after taking a fall, but he died from pneumonia after struggling to ingest food through a tube.
Ulleri’s family told the inquest that they believe he went for 10 days without being fed whilst in the care of the hospital, and said they raised concerns about a lack of nutrition days before.
Coroner Angharad Davies explained that the 61-year-old’s condition had meant that he had difficulty communicating and was not able to take care of himself, so was the subject of a deprivation of liberty safeguarding order.
Jurors heard that Ulleri was taken to hospital after falling in his house and despite initial scans taken at Manchester Royal Infirmary not showing any significant injuries, volunteers looking after him raised concerns over his ability to walk and swallow.
The coroner explained that he then had a nasogastric tube inserted on 9 March, but the tube only stayed in place for a day as the patient struggled to use it and felt uncomfortable.
Coroner Davies said: “Joe had long periods of time when he had no nutritional support when he stayed in hospital, and for a long period the only nutrition he had was that 24 hours when the tube was in place.”
Ulleri’s brother Peter told the inquest he had phoned into a best interest meeting at the hospital on 16 March where it was agreed that a tube would be interested into his stomach as he believed his brother’s condition was deteriorating due to a lack of nutrition.
He said a delay in giving Ulleri nutrition meant he was too weak to recover from the procedure.
Ulleri died on 20 March from aspiration pneumonia which occurs when food, stomach acid or saliva is inhaled into the lungs.
Another witness, sister Christine O’Grady, who was one of the volunteers looking after Ulleri, said she had “grave concern” regarding the perceived lack of pain relief of nutrition the patient had been given in hospital.
Witness Naomi Tomlinson also reported a lack of joined-up thinking at the hospital, and criticised the communications at the trust, stating: “Within 24 hours, there was a very quick escalation from ‘Joe is not going to die’ to ‘Joe is dying’.”
The inquest continues.
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