Patient in Abergavenny hospital died after choking on pasty

First published in News

A PATIENT at Llanarth Court Hospital died after choking on a pasty, an inquest has heard.

On December 27, 2012, while being pushed in a wheelchair, Brian Haydn Evans was handed a pasty by a fellow patient which he then thrust whole into his mouth before staff had the chance to intervene.

Refusing to allow staff to remove it, he attempted to swallow it and choked. Two days later Mr Evans was pronounced dead.

Mr Evans was a patient at the hospital detained under the mental health act and diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. The 66-year-old had been at the hospital since 2009.

The jury at Newport Coroner’s Court heard evidence from Daniel Harris, the health care worker who was pushing the wheelchair when the incident occurred.

Mr Harris was taking Mr Evans to the intensive care unit which is near to the dining area. Mr Harris said within a matter of seconds Mr Evans had got the pasty and pushed it into his mouth.

He said: “We were able to get some of the pasty out. I tried to do the Heimlich manoeuvre.”

An ambulance was called and Mr Evans was taken to Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny. He had a stable pulse but could not breathe unaided.

Responding to questions from the jury, Mr Harris confirmed the patient who had handed over the pasty had been free to do so and should not have been secured elsewhere.

On December 29, 2012, Mr Evans was pronounced brain stem dead.

The court heard how in 2012, Mr Evans began to develop regular chest infections which he refused to be examined for. On the day of the incident, Mr Evans had been discharged from Nevill Hall Hospital where he had been admitted following breathing problems.

A post-mortem examination found death to be the result of hypoxic brain damage and pneumonia due to obstruction of air way by food.

Gwent Coroner David Bowen said there was no evidence to suggest lack of care or that Mr Evans had done this with the intent of choking.

He added: “It’s almost impossible to prevent sudden and impulsive actions on behalf of a person.”

The jury returned with a verdict of accidental death.

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