A woman died from breathing in food within 24 hours of being admitted to a care home.
Elizabeth Hemming (71), of Pendlebury Drive, Deeping St James, went to the home with a urinary tract infection at teatime on December 13 – and died on her room floor just after breakfast the next day after attempts to revive her failed.
Staff from Tallington Care Home performed CPR because the pensioner had “slumped back” in her chair after eating some of her breakfast, scrambled egg on toast, and emergency services tried other interventions, an inquest heard.
The retired bank clerk was lactose and gluten intolerant – and had coeliac disease – but had taken her own food into the home and the carers and kitchen staff were aware of her problems.
Peterborough City Hospital pathologist Dr Mike Harris said Mrs Hemming died from aspiration of food, but it was not clear if that was the meal she had just been eating or from vomiting digested food.
South Lincolnshire assistant coroner Siobhan Kelly concluded Mrs Hemming’s death was accidental after inhaling food or regurgitated food.
The inquest heard Mrs Hemming had complained of feeling hot and was cold to the touch that morning.
Carer Robin Colley said he went to Mrs Hemming’s room at about 7.15am and she told him she wanted to stay in bed a little longer.
Later he helped her wash and dress.
Mr Colley said: “She was fine at this point. She was able to stand and she did most things herself.”
He was aware Mrs Hemming was lactose and gluten intolerant and made sure she got her breakfast first “so she didn’t get anything she wasn’t supposed to do”.
Mr Colley took her the meal at about 8.45am, but then noticed Mrs Hemming was sweating and hot, left the breakfast with her and went to fetch a senior carer, Binish George.
Mr George described how he tried and failed five times to take Mrs Hemming’s blood pressure because the machine kept recording an error.
He said Mrs Hemming was fully conscious at that point but he and the senior carer in charge dialled 111 to see how best to help her.
They dialled 999 after she fell backwards in her chair and there were secretions coming from her mouth – and followed the directions of the 999 operator, performing CPR and wiping away secretions to keep her airway clear.
Carers maintained CPR until ambulance first response staff arrived 25 minutes later – and Mr Colley carried on with CPR at the request of paramedics who tried other ways to revive her.