Coroner takes action after man impaled on lifting hoist

An  Arjo Encore hoist.
An Arjo Encore hoist.

The medical director of a hospital trust in charge of the ward where a Spalding man died after being impaled on part of a lifting hoist has given reassurance more 
focused training is being given to prevent similar “harrowing and tragic” incidents happening.

John Biggadike (53) died within minutes of the accident on ward 8A at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital on April 10, 2012.

The inquest on Mr Biggadike, of Third Avenue, was opened three days later, but has only just resumed due to legal issues.

It was attended by advocates from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the Health and Safety Executive.

On Friday, a jury of seven had listened to evidence over four days and took under one-and-a half hours to return a verdict that it had been a “tragic accident”, which occurred due to the misuse of the lifting devise.

They also said it had been unfortunate vital information regarding a similar incident at a hospital in Leicester had not been relayed to other hospital trusts.

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director for the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), told the Free Press after the verdict: “This was a harrowing and tragic incident and we acknowledge the findings of the inquest entirely.

“We have now introduced focused training on the use of equipment.

“It is regrettable the incident in 2007 was not made known throughout the NHS as it could, theoretically, have prevented Mr Biggadike’s death.”

Summing up, senior coroner for South Lincolnshire Prof Robert Forrest said Mr Biggadike was in hospital being treated with cirrhosis of the liver when the incident occurred. Staff had placed Mr Biggadike in an Arjo Encore hoist, which is used to assist people in rising up or sitting down.

Prof Forrest said: “While he was strapped to the hoist he said he wanted to use the commode.

“Afterwards, as staff went to help him, the strap slipped and his knees buckled and he went down.

”He was a big man and his gown hid a metal mounting from the knee guard from which he sustained the injury.

“Doctors were called and treated him, but Mr Biggadike’s condition deteriorated rapidly.”

There had been concern about the level of pain Mr Biggadike experienced. Dr Kapadia said: “A battlefield injury is the best analysis, where immediately afterwards there would be no pain. Taking blood can be quite painful, but you are not comparing apples with apples. Mr Biggadike’s heart was not beating fast and his breathing was normal.”

A family member said Mr Biddadike was a very verbal man and “it was strange when he was sliding down he didn’t say anything”.

Mr Forrest expressed his intention to write a regulation 28 report to the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) and Arjo about the 
incident in the hope future similar incidents could be avoided.

He said: “It concerns me that, in spite of a hazard warning being issued about the Arjo devise, it is still in use in the UK.

“If not a total recall, maybe there could be a modification to make them safer. Evidence given at the inquest shows significant training is now in place in the ULHT, but I would hope this is taking place in 
other trusts.”

Mr Biggadike’s brother, Keith, who sat with members of the family at the inquest. said: “It is important there should be more training.”