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Hospital fined £50,000 for disabled mans death

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was fined £50,000 following the death of Kyle Flack at Basildon University Hospital early on 12th October 2006.

The severely-disabled 20-year-old man, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died from asphyxiation after his head became entangled in his bedrails.

Although he had been found several times lying diagonally in his bed with his head wedged between the rails, no action was taken when subsequent concerns were raised by a passing cleaner.

In February when the Trust admitted the breaches, Basildon Crown Court heard there had been a similar incident during an earlier stay at the hospital.

Despite this history, no assessment was carried out when he was admitted and staff weren’t aware of the previous incident. Subsequently Kyle was placed in a single room with intermittent care.

Investigations by HSE found the Trust had no systems in place on each ward for assessing the risk to patients from bed rails, despite the risk of entrapment in cerebral palsy sufferers highlighted in Department for Health guidelines published in 2001.

After admitting failure to ensure the health and safety of patients in its care, breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the NHS Foundation Trust was sentenced, fined and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

Kyle’s mother Gill Flack said:
“When you put your child into hospital, you expect him to be cared for. There will never be closure for us.”

[quote top=HSE Inspector Sue Matthews said:]
This was an entirely preventable incident.

The use of suitable bedrails and bumpers, frequent monitoring of Kyle while the bedrails were in place and proper record keeping by staff would also have helped prevent this tragic death.[/quote]