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HC-One fined £640,000 after resident chokes to death on doughnut

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HC-One has been fined £640,000 after a 65-year-old resident at Orchard Care Home in Clackmannanshire, Scotland choked on a doughnut and died.

The woman, who had been assessed as at risk of choking, was on a specialist diet and should have not been given the doughnut, Falkirk Sheriff Court found.

The court heard the woman, who was on a diet of minced and moist food after a severe stroke and vascular dementia, was given a jam doughnut as a snack from a tea trolley on 7 August 2019, the BBC reported.

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The woman choked and died despite efforts by care home staff and paramedics to remove the food.

The Crown Office said she had repeatedly been offered sandwiches from the snack trolley putting her health at risk.

HC-One pleaded guilty to failings under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

James Tugendhat, Chief Executive Officer of HC-One, said: “First and foremost, we offer our heartfelt condolences and apologies to Mrs Hughes’ family and loved ones.

“It was vitally important to us that lessons were learned when this occurred in 2019. Additional safeguards are now in place across all our homes to prevent a repeat of an accident like this, and colleagues now complete additional and specific training focused on supporting residents who have modified diets. The Care Inspectorate has recognised this work across our homes, as well as the very good care provided at The Orchard today.

“We are clear that this tragedy should never have happened, and we hope today’s judgement provides Mrs Hughes’ family with some comfort and closure.”

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The author Lee Peart

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