Man choked to death on glove

A MAN with learning difficulties tragically choked to death on a latex glove in his mouth, an inquest has heard.

Mark Armsworth was 32 years old and lived at The Grammar School in Earls Colne which is a specialist care home.

Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard yesterday that Mark had a tendency to put foreign objects in his mouth and had been hospitalised after swallowing a piece of sticklebrick in 2005. <name was mentioned repeatedly in inquest>.

On the morning of September 8, 2008 Mark walked up to a member of staff who saw he had a latex glove in his mouth.

The inquest heard that desperate attempts were made to pull the glove out but nothing could be done to save him.

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Sophie Mayes-Allen, a senior support worker, told the inquest Mark, who had been at the home since 1994, “needed a lot of help with everyday life”.

She said that on the morning of the incident, the lock on the bathroom door was stuck, meaning that the residents were being given “strip washes” instead, but Miss Mayes-Allen said nothing untoward had happened.

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She described what happened, saying: “I was sitting on a chair. He walked up to me and lent over and his mouth was half open…

“I shouted for help and put my hand in his mouth…I was trying to grab it.”

She said the first time she had seen the glove was when it was in Mark’s mouth.

Another member of staff repeatedly slapped his back and efforts were made to give CPR.

The inquest heard that the gloves were kept in both the bathroom and toilet although it was not known where Mark found the glove which got stuck in his throat.

Following the incident, the company which runs the home – Caring Homes Group Ltd – has made changes to ensure the cupboards containing the gloves are always locked.

However, Frank Cummins, the clinical director for the company, said external reports on the care home had given it praise.

He said: “We don’t care for people in a glass bubble, there is always a risk, it is a case of trying to minimise them.”

He said staff had been left “extremely distraught” by Mark’s death.

Mark’s mother, Elaine Armsworth, of Great Notley, said her son’s behaviour was that of someone who was nine to 15 months old.

“He would chew his clothes, we never left him clothes with buttons on.

“He was not psychotic or depresses – to us he was happy when he came home, pleased to see us. He was just lovely,” she said.

Essex Coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

She said: “We will never quite know how Mark got hold of that latex glove.”

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