A care home has been fined £40,000 after a 56-year-old woman with swallowing difficulties died after being served a doughnut.
Ridgewood Care Services Limited was prosecuted by the CQC at Brighton Magistrate’s Court following the death of Mary Jane Cotton of New Inn in Ridgewood, Uckfield.
Ridgewood Care was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £5,000 costs following the CQC prosecution.
Michelle Moyo, who was the registered manager at the New Inn at the time of Ms Cotton’s death, was ordered to pay £1,697, comprising a £634 fine, £63 victim surcharge and £1,000 costs.
The court heard staff had served Ms Cotton a doughnut on 28 February 2017 despite having been instructed that the 56-year-old should only eat pureed and moist food.
The doughnut caused Ms Cotton to choke and she sadly died at the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, on 1 March 2017.
Jemima Burnage, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said: “This is a distressing case and our sympathies are with those affected by Mary Jane Cotton’s death.
“Ms Cotton had every right to expect safe care at the New Inn. Ridgewood Care Services has a specific legal duty to ensure care and treatment is provided safely at the home. They failed to do this by serving Ms Cotton food that was not prepared to mitigate her documented risk of choking.
“The majority of care providers do an excellent job. However, where we find any provider has put people using its services at risk of harm, we take action to hold them to account and protect people.
“We hope this prosecution reminds care providers that they must always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing.”