Doctor criticises staff response to man who collapsed in hospital after swallowing plastic

PUBLISHED: 16:38 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:49 30 July 2019

Norfolk Coroner's Court at Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Coroner's Court at Carrow House. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A leading doctor has questioned the response of hospital staff after a man who had swallowed a piece of plastic collapsed, an inquest has heard.

Nicholas Briant, 33, died on October 31 last year at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after part of a plastic cup restricted his breathing, causing him to go into cardiac arrest and his brain was starved of oxygen.

He had been a long-term patient at the Jeesal Group-owned Cawston Park since November 6, 2017.

The 33-year-old had mild learning disabilities and autism but could also be "aggressive" towards people and property.

He had complained about difficulties with breathing a few hours before collapsing in the dining room at Cawston Park after 11pm on October 29, an inquest heard.

When asked by area coroner Yvonne Blake about the response to Mr Briant's deteriorating condition from Cawston Park staff, Dr Neill Carter, Cawston Park medical director, said: "I would have expected a quicker response. The response could have been different. I wasn't there at the time but I would done things differently."

The inquest, which started on July 29, was previously shown CCTV footage of Mr Briant collapsing in the Cawston Park dining area and staff performing CPR while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

It heard that Mr Briant was "pale", "struggling" and "rolling around the dining room" before that.

At around 7.25pm on October 29, the inquest heard the 33-year-old told staff: "I cannot breath. I'm dying."

In response to the CCTV, Ms Blake said: "The staff are standing there. Nobody appears to be doing anything. There seems to be a long period of time before any definitive action was taken to assist him. They [Cawston Park staff] appeared to be milling around."

The inquest heard that a staff nurse got oxygen for Mr Briant but it took "several minutes" for defibrillator to be used in the so-called code blue emergency situation.

During live questioning, family barrister Hannah Noyce revealed two members of Cawston Park staff who helped Mr Briant on October 29 were not up-to-date with their first aid training.

The inquest, listed for four days, continues at Norfolk Coroner's Court.

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