Patient with Down’s syndrome dies as hospital leaves him without food for 20 days
A man with Down’s syndrome died after 20 days in a hospital bed without food, an inquest heard.
The family of Giuseppe “Joe” Ulleri, 61, condemned the “fragmented” approach to his care after he was taken to A&E in February 2016 due to a fall at his supported living site in Didsbury, Manchester.
After initially being discharged, he was re-admitted and found to have fractures to his pelvis, wrist and neck.
His carers were told he needed surgery and as he had some difficulty swallowing due to an ongoing acid reflux problem, he was made “nil by mouth”.
But relatives say he was denied food for almost three weeks due to miscommunication and inaction by staff, which led to him getting fatal pneumonia.
Brother Peter told the inquest Manchester Royal Infirmary had “first-rate buildings but third-rate medical care”, adding: “There was a fragmented approach which gave us serious cause for concern.”
Acting area coroner Angharad Davies told the inquest jury: “Whilst in hospital Joe was looked after by a range of different staff, from nurses, to speech specialists to dieticians.
“A decision was made that he would be ‘nil by mouth’.
“A nasal gastric tube was fitted but that proved problematic and was only in place for 24 hours.
“After that Joe had a long period when he had no nutritional support.”
Joe died on March 20, while medics were still debating how best to feed him. The Manchester city coroner’s court inquest continues.