A residential care home provider has been fined after one of their elderly residents choked to death on uncut meatballs; even though the care providers were explicitly instructed to cut up the food first.
Resident Mrs Margaret Humphries was brought to the care home by her family along with written instructions that all food given to Mrs Humphries was to be cut up first. The family made sure to verbally instruct care providers to make sure they were aware that Mrs Humphries had a high risk of choking.
Tragically, the instructions were not acted on.
In August 2014, Mrs Humphries was fed uncut meatballs that consequently lead to her death. Aldershot Road home was investigated by the Care Quality Commission and other authorities after a complaint was filed into the standard of care provided. During their investigation, inspectors found a complete disarray in handling of medication, safety procedures, and administrative records.
Craysell Limited in London, who owns and operates the care home, pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety legislation. Craysell was given an £80,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £19,631 for their failings.
The Health and Safety Executive, Andrew Johnson, spoke out about the incident calling it “tragic” and a “completely avoidable tragedy”.
Mrs Humphries’ family are rightfully angry and distraught as what had happened was due to “crucial information [being] ignored”.
This horrific incident is one of many horror stories of negligent care residential homes are investigated for. Care homes are paid handsomely by the government and family members of the elderly and disabled to provide respectful and dignified care to residents. That duty of care is extremely important, and people must not be let down. As with other care facilities, care providers must not forget that residents are more vulnerable and thus should be treated with greater care. This incident highlights the importance of risk assessments to minimise risk of harm, injury, and even death.
Craysell Limited failed in their legal obligations in their standard of care for Mrs Humphries. Their complete negligence in following simple but important instructions has cost a vulnerable person her life. When someone comes to harm because of someone else’s negligence, we make sure that the wrongdoer doesn’t get away with it.
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