Wales

Power cut kills Pembroke nursing home man on ventilator

A power cut during the night killed a man with muscular dystrophy as nursing home staff were unable to connect a back-up power supply, an inquest heard.

Gavin Proctor, 35, a resident at the Ashdale home in Pembroke, was on a ventilator to help with his breathing.

A jury, which returned a narrative verdict, heard he probably would have lived if an emergency generator or a battery pack was connected.

Mr Proctor's parents Gary and Val want tougher rules for nursing homes.

"The Health and Safety Executive and Care Standards in Wales should have stricter rules for nursing homes to safeguard vulnerable patients like our son Gavin, to stop this tragedy happening to other families," the couple, who also lost their first son the the disease, said in a statement.

"Although Gavin was deteriorating in general, at the time of his death he was in good health. It's quite clear to us that Ashdale nursing home failed in the duty of care for our son."

His father, Gary, added that he believed the home should be punished.

"When you consider we lost our first son through the same disease and we lost this one, not because of the disease really, but because of errors made - and no punishment is applied.

"If I got a speeding ticket I get three points on my license and a £60 fine, but our son dies and there's nothing - not even a smack on the hand. I don't think that's right."

Image caption Gary and Val Proctor, Gavin's parents

Torch

The power failure happened early on 4 January 2009, cutting off the supply to his ventilator and knocking out all the lights.

Senior managers at the home told the jury staff were told regularly how to switch on a back-up generator in an emergency.

However the inquest heard even if the generator had been switched on, it would not have saved Mr Proctor's life because it did not provide power to his room.

Staff would have had to run extension leads to him in the dark, or use back-up battery packs.

The nurse on duty that night, Helen Corcoran, said she had never connected the battery pack before, which Mr Proctor used for going outside, and was not able to see because the torch she found was not working.

Mr Proctor suffered a cardiac arrest and died at the scene.

The cause of death was given as muscular dystrophy.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has already decided that the home owners will not face prosecution for Mr Proctor's death.