NHS Apologises After Patient Chokes To Death

NHS Failings Led To A Patient Choking To Death


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Trust - Scotland's biggest health board - has issued an apology to a patient's family, after an elderly man tragically choked to death while he was being cared for at Glasgow's Gartnavel Hospital.

Roddy MacDonald, an 84-year-old World War II veteran, was receiving treatment for the degenerative condition Parkinson's disease at the medical facility in 2011 when he was mistakenly fed goulash, instead of the soft, mashed up food he should have been given due to his needs. This led to him choking - an incident that proved fatal.

Parkinson's disease affects a person's nerves and muscles, leading to loss of movement or difficulty carrying out tasks others take for granted, leaving some sufferers severely disabled and more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening illnesses.

A significant incident review was launched to explore the circumstances surrounding Mr MacDonald's death, identifying major failings in the care he received while at Gartnavel Hospital.

For instance, it was found that the patient had not always been monitored to the highest standard while he was eating and he had been given an incorrect dosage of his medication on one occasion.

In addition, while in hospital, his weight dropped by ten per cent, meaning he should have been referred to a dietician, but this was not the case.

Following this, the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Trust has released a statement, explaining that the details relating to the patient's care were "fully investigated", before being shared with the procurator fiscal (PF).

"The PF was satisfied with the measures we had taken to address the issues identified in our investigation and as such the PF advised that they would not carry out a fatal accident inquiry," it continued.

Mr MacDonald's family is also set to receive £20,000 in compensation from the NHS over its failings in the matter, after they lodged a claim in March this year.

In its statement, the health board said: "We would be happy to meet with the family to share the findings of the investigation and offer them a full apology now that the compensation claim has been resolved."

Expert Opinion
Patient care should always be a top priority, which means ensuring the individual needs of patients are met and specific instructions relating to their care are followed. In this tragic incident failings at the Gartnavel Hospital led to the death of a patient who did not receive the best possible standard of care.

“It is vital the failings identified in the review of this case are corrected immediately and patients are reassured that measures have been implemented to prevent incidents like this in the future and to protect their health and safety.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner