Woman’s fury after brother ‘choked to death’ at L&D
A woman has spoken of her anger at her brother’s death in the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, where he was given food despite being a ‘nil by mouth’ patient.
The mistake meant John Burr choked to death – and staff were prevented from saving him by a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order, which had been signed off by consultants without his family being informed.
His sister Kathleen Dimmock, 65, of Little Meadow, Caddington, said: “He was only 68 years old and he would have been with us today had he been resuscitated.
“We have never had any explanation of why the order was given.”
Mr Burr, who was schizophrenic, had been taken into intensive care five weeks earlier suffering from hypothermia and malnutrition.
Luton law firm Pictons won a settlement from the hospital for the family following an inquest into his death in January 2011.
But they are worried other families might not know about DNR orders on their loved ones’ files.
And Mrs Dimmock was horrified at the treatment her brother received once he left intensive care.
“He was put on Ward 12 and it was terrible, it was like they were just waiting for him to die,” she said.
“We never even met his consultant.”
Most of the nurses showed a “disgraceful lack of compassion”, she said, information was not handed over at shift changes, and she had to dress the wound left in her brother’s neck by his tracheotomy herself.
“The ward was dirty and filthy - you would come back and things would still be in exactly the same place.
“I dread to think about the people in there who had no visitors,” she added.
Pictons solicitor Rosaline Wong said: “I remain concerned by the use of DNRs on elderly or disabled patients simply on the basis of their age or disability.”
An L&D spokesman said the hospital “deeply regretted” the communication error that led to Mr Burr being fed, and said his family had received an unreserved apology.
He added: “We have taken very seriously the lessons which have been learned from this particularly sad case.
“Since the tragic incident occurred, the hospital has completed a comprehensive programme of quality transformation.”
“At ward level we have changed the way we work: clinicians come together every morning on the ward to share updates on all patients. Safety briefings have been introduced across the hospital and patients with specific needs, like Mr Burr, are discussed and all staff made aware of their needs.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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