Pensioner died after feeding tube mix-up; WARD STAFF CAN'T SAY HOW IT HAPPENED.
Byline: GARETH HUGHES Daily Post Correspondent email@example.com
A FLINTSHIRE pensioner died in hospital after his feeding tube was connected to an intravenous drip, an inquest was told.
But at end of the first day of the hearing into 81-year-old Alan Walker's death in Ruthin, the question of how the error was committed and who was responsible remained unanswered.
Several members of staff at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, told coroner John Gittins they could offer no explanation.
Mr Walker, of Bryn Clyd, Leeswood, died at the hospital on January 23 last year after being admitted about two weeks earlier.
At that stage the family was told the prognosis was not good but he made a good recovery and was expected to be transferred to Mold Hospital when the incident which led to his death occurred.
In a statement his wife Irene said he had undergone surgery for cancer of the jaw in October, 2013 and received radiotherapy at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, but he collapsed at home on January 5 and was taken to the Maelor Hospital.
Alan |and Members of his family visited him on January 22 where he was described as being "bright as a button".
But shortly after returning home they received a call to return to the hospital.
Granddaughter Sarah Hallam said she was told by Dr Peter Drew, in charge of Cunliffe Ward, that food had entered Mr Walker's drip and that they didn't know how to treat it. When she asked whether it Walker wife Irene had been caused by medical neglect Dr Drew, who was clearly upset, replied: "Sadly yes" or "Unfortunately yes".
The inquest heard how the connection between the pump and the nasal-gastric tube had come apart twice that afternoon and had been taped to secure it.
But Sister Joanna Kirkham, who was overseeing Mr Walker's care, said that when she reconnected the tube the needle end of the drip was not in his arm.
Staff nurse Carol Hughes told the hearing that on the evening of January 22, she was told by a dietician to arrange a phosphate infusion which was to last 12 hours, and that was connected to his arm.
But when asked by the coroner if she had any idea how the feeding tube came to be connected to the intravenous drip she, along with Sister Kirkham and health care workers Lorraine Pugh and Julie Roberts, who were also on duty that day, all replied: "No".
A post-mortem by Home Office pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd found that Mr Walker died as a result of "toxic shock due to intravenous infusion of a liquid oral supplementary feed".
Mr Walker also had a severe artery disease but his family said in statements read at the hearing that he was a fit man who enjoyed gardening and did 50 pressups a day.
The inquest will conclude today.
Alan Walker |and wife Irene