Patsy Taneborne had been left unsupervised despite being at high risk of choking, the inquest heard (Picture: Carechoices.co.uk)
A pensioner choked to death after a carer in her nursing home served her a sausage without cutting it into pieces, an inquest has heard.
Patsy Taneborne, 62, had been put onto a diet of soft and bite-sized foods only after a stroke in 2017 left her with difficulty swallowing.
A carer at the Monkscroft Care Centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire decided not to chop up a hot dog she served to Patsy on August 5 as she felt it was soft enough for the pensioner to eat, the inquest was told on Thursday.
But Patsy began choking on her food while unsupervised for a few minutes and went into cardiac arrest before staff noticed the problem.
They began CPR, after which paramedics successfully removed the two-and-a-half inch sausage from her airways and stabilised her, but she sadly passed away in hospital two days later.
No post-mortem was carried out but doctors at Gloucester Royal Hospital concluded that complications related to oxygen loss contributed to the pensioner’s death alongside vascular dementia and diabetes.
The carer, Delia Lethy, was sacked for gross misconduct in September after admitting to a disciplinary hearing that she was aware of Patsy’s needs and failed to follow procedure.
She told the hearing she had made a poor choice by not cutting up the hot dog as dictated by a care plan set out by NHS doctors, adding: ‘I’m so sorry that my actions led to the woman’s death.’
The nursing home, which is run by the Order of St John Care Trust, the second-largest not-for-profit care provider in the UK, acknowledged to the inquiry that Patsy was at high risk of choking and had a history of challenging behaviour.
The Coroner recorded a narrative conclusion stating ‘Patsy Taneborne died on August 7 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital having choked on food given to her at the care home. Her care plan had not been followed in that the deceased’s food had not been cut up as per recommended instruction.’
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