Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton and Dunstable death: Care procedures improved

A hospital has apologised over the death of a man who was fed when he should have remained "nil by mouth".

John Burr, 68, of Luton, was admitted to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital with a chest infection for a routine operation.

Despite a "nil by mouth" notice he was fed after the operation was cancelled, his family said.

Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said it deeply regretted Mr Burr's death.

The trust has apologised unreservedly to his family who won compensation over the incident in October last year.

Lawyers representing the family also said Mr Burr was not treated after falling out of bed and a "Do Not Resuscitate" order was found in his hospital file, which his family did not know about.

Injured hip

Mr Burr was found one morning on the hospital floor where he had fallen and injured his hip.

"The family were not informed and he was not X-rayed until the following day," Rosaline Wong, of solicitors Pictons, said.

"The X-ray showed that he had fractured his hip and instructions were given for him to have a gastric feeding tube inserted."

Mr Burr's sister Kathleen Dimmock said: "On the day of the operation, John was found to be anaemic so the operation was postponed.

"A locum consultant either said to a nurse that John could be fed because his operation was cancelled or the nurse misheard the instructions.

"Nevertheless John was given food to eat and this proved lethal."

Mr Burr choked and struggled for breath for more than three hours until he died.

"We believe the order deprived John of his chance to live," Mrs Dimmock said.

"He was only 68 years old and would have been with us today had he been resuscitated."

The NHS trust said: "Since the tragic incident 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 to share updates on all patients," the statement said.

"Safety briefings have been introduced and patients with specific needs, like Mr Burr, are discussed and all staff made aware."

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