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Hudgell Solicitors™ | Case Stories | Grandmother choked to death on sandwich in hospital

Grandmother choked to death on sandwich in hospital

Linda and Mike Garbutt


Hudgell Solicitors supported the family of 84-year-old grandmother Lilian Hugill in a medical negligence case against York District Hospital, as she choked on a sandwich just hours after being admitted to the Acute Medical Unit. She died after suffering a heart attack and hypoxic brain injury, which led to bronchopneumonia.

The legal process

The legal case focused around the failure of staff to note Mrs Hugill was not wearing false teeth and were therefore unaware they needed to serve her softer food or soups. It was alleged a staff nurse failed to ask whether she wore dentures on admission, as prompted on admission forms, or, if such a question was asked, failed to record the response in the patient documents. This error proved fatal. We also alleged that the Trust had failed to put standard procedures in place at meal times to ensure suitable food was served and that observations took place.

Settlement

Following our representation on behalf of Mrs Hugill’s family, the Trust admitted that had the issue around dentures been noted, Mrs Hugill would have been put on a soft diet, and on the balance of probabilities would not then have choked. As a result her brain injury, bronchopneumonia and death would have been avoided. A five-figure damages settlement was agreed.

Hudgell Solicitors comment

“This was a really tragic and upsetting case and one where had the very basic standards of care with regards to treating elderly and vulnerable patients been followed, this lady would not have died.” – Solicitor Tasmin White.

Client comment

 “Hudgell Solicitors have been very thorough. We weren’t bothered about claiming compensation. We just wanted the Trust to be held to account for getting it so wrong.” – Mike Garbutt

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The Author

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Tasmin White

Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

tw@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

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