A coroner has concluded that the death of a retired police officer whose head became trapped between the rails and mattress of his hospital bed was an avoidable accident.
Max Dingle, 83, died 15 minutes after he was discovered trapped in a ward at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on May 3, 2020.
Concluding an inquest into Surrey born Max Dingle’s demise, a senior coroner found resuscitation hadn’t been attempted despite the pensioner electing for life-saving intervention and having a pulse when he was discovered.
Earlier this month, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, was fined £1,333,334 for failing to supply safe care to Max Dingle and another patient, whose case is not connected and who died in different circumstances.
Senior coroner John Ellery said Max Dingle, of Powys in mid-Wales, was initially admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath on April 27, 2020.
His medical records revealed he suffered from a heart condition, lymphoedema and sleep apnoea.
The coroner said that Max Dingle remained in the hospital until May 3, at 10 am, when he was discovered with his head trapped between the rails and mattress of his hospital bed.
The coroner said that Max Dingle had suffered a cardiac arrest, from which resuscitation wasn’t attempted, and he died at 10.15 am.
Nobody from the Hospital Trust attended the hearing but family members, including Max Dingle’s son Phil, dialled in from Australia.
Mr Ellery said an initial post mortem examination gave the cause of death as heart disease and didn’t consider the entrapment caused or contributed to Mr Dingle’s demise.
However, Mr Dingle’s son didn’t accept those conclusions and instead, commissioned expert consultant forensic pathologist Johan Duflou, from the University of Sydney, to review the findings and post mortem examination.
Professor Duflou gave the cause of death of entrapment with positional asphyxiation.
Mr Ellery said that after comparing and discussing their findings, both pathologists then agreed entrapment did play a considerable part in the cause of death.
An inquest was opened and adjourned while separate criminal proceedings against the NHS trust were carried out by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The criminal inquiry ended this month after the trust admitted failings in connection with the care of two patients, including Max Dingle.
Concluding the inquest, Mr Ellery said that based on all the evidence, the findings of the inquest were that Max Dingle’s death was an avoidable accident.
I guess the moral of the story is don’t get ill and end up in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, or anywhere else in the United Kingdom, especially if you’re over the age of fifty because the NHS is a disgrace, and then you get the default response from the NHS that ‘lessons have been learned’, unfortunately, they never are. Still clapping for the NHS, are we?
And it’s a sorry state of affairs when you’re safer at home than in the hospital.
Was there no one else on the ward to sound the alarm?
The trouble is that once you get past a certain age, you are deemed expendable to free up a bed. I’m surprised they’re not offering out lethal doses of morphine to speed things up.
The original coroner didn’t think that it played a part, which means that if Mr Dingle’s family didn’t have the funds to seek a private investigation this would have just been swept under the rug and disappeared. It doesn’t give you much faith in our health system, does it?
The poor man must have been in pain and awfully distressed with his head entrapped in the bed rail, yet nobody noticed, or did they just turn a blind eye?