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Suffolk: Concern voiced at inquest of man who choked on food at hospital

10:00 22 January 2014

Ipswich Hospital

Ipswich Hospital

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The family of a man who died after he choked on food given to him at Ipswich Hospital have been told that his death was “not in vain” and that “lessons will be learnt”.

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Kenneth Thimblethorpe, of Roundwood Road in Ipswich, was admitted to the Heath Road site on July 22 with “severe left-sided weakness”.

A CT scan revealed that he had suffered a stroke.

He remained in the hospital and was with his brother and sister-in-law on August 12 when he was offered a selection of food.

He opted for a meal which included a fishcake. The inquest was told 
that Mr Thimblethorpe’s relatives were concerned about this because there was a sign above his bed that said he should only be given soft foods.

However, it was added during the hearing that the food had been cut up and his relatives felt that the hospital staff would “know best”.

Mr Thimblethorpe then appeared to start choking on the food and nurses and a doctor arrived at the room but they were unable to save him.

The inquest heard that Mr Thimblethorpe suffered a cardiac arrest but that the primary cause of his death was an intra-cerebral haemorrhage and not choking.

In notes discussed at the inquest, it was stated that the choking could have been a “product of the haemorrhage”.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Kevin McCarthy, senior assistant coroner for Suffolk, said that concerns had been raised with the hospital.

He added: “Those concerns are being dealt with, I am glad to say, by Ipswich Hospital.

“I don’t think his death will be in vain because I have no doubt that Ipswich Hospital will look at this situation and learn its lessons from it.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said no further comments would be made on the inquest.

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