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79-year-old woman chokes to death on breakfast at Kanagawa hospital

21 Comments

A 79-year-old woman choked to death at a hospital in Hiratsuka City on Sunday morning, police said Tuesday.

The woman was admitted to the hospital the previous day with a broken leg. Staff decided not to serve her the standard menu due to her age, and noted in her file that she be served lighter meals and finely chopped vegetables. However, the next morning her breakfast included some regular menu items. A nurse oversaw the patient at breakfast time at which point the woman appeared fine but had left her cabbage and carrot sauté untouched, and the nurse asked her to finish her vegetables as well.

Twenty minutes later, a nurse checked on the woman again, and found her vomiting. Staff took emergency measures but the woman was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Hospital staff contacted police and told them they had made a procedural error which had resulted in the woman’s death. They said that changes made after 4 p.m. to patient’s meals also require a phone call to their kitchen, which was not made in this case. Police are continuing their investigation and may pursue a charge of professional negligence resulting in death.

© News reports

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21 Comments
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For once I have to agree with the keystones. If explicit instructions were given regarding the care of this patient and the staff were lacks, then yes, there was negligence.

S

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There is NO Negligence if the diet was not as requested. The patient was vomiting, not choking. If the patient aspirated and the jokers did not CODE the patient, then that is the cause of death, not her diet

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There must have been mochi in that meal.

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This is absolutely horrible. If you aren't safe in a hospital from incompetance...sheesh...

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The private health care system claims another victim. Kind of joking but you know if this was a public hospital what the comments would be like.

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Must have been the Grim Reaper who put the normal menu on her table!

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Choked on a sautee vegetable? Seems like the incompetence was all hers.

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That sucks...

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How is the hospital responsible for this? She didn't have to eat it. Could have ask for something else - or a family memeber could have made her something or helped her eat breakfast.

Besides if she was throwing up, the reason for death wasn't choking.

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Police are continuing their investigation and may pursue a charge of professional negligence resulting in death.

If that is against the nurse or nurses, all pity to them. The menu change was precautionary, and totally unrelated to the reason she went to the hospital.

The biggest problem here is that the nurse should not have asked the old woman to eat the vegetables if there was no medical reason to do so. But nobody is perfect, and stuff happens. 79 year olds tend to die for various reasons. Get used to it. Or, demand that no nurse ever again make the grievous mistake of asking a patient to finish their food, then be surprised that while focusing on that, they inject you with the wrong medicine. Yeah, nurses got a lot of crap on their minds. They walk on enough egg shells as it is.

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Tmarie. I will give you one thing. If she was throwing up, the choking sounds like only part of the cause of death. More likely she had a reaction to something in the food.

Now why is it the hospital's issue is simple. If the hospital staff did not follow proper proceedures in selecting food for the patient, then they are complicit in any problems that arrise. It is their responsibility to comply with rules.

On another note. How do you blame this poor old lady for anything? You have been in Japan long enough to know that authority figures in Japan carry the same weight at God. So if the hospital, the authority in this case, gave her food to eat, why would she question it? She has no reason to. Nor would most elderly Japanese.

Now the real question is, what was the true cause of death?

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Japanese nurse? I detect a suspended sentence coming up.

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This is absolutely horrible. If you aren't safe in a hospital from incompetance...sheesh...

You're not safe anywhere! Eventually your fate is going to be in someone else's hands, whether it be an errant driver or a surgeon or on an airplane. People are only human and there are going to be mistakes, great and small. If you luck out, Sully Sullenberger is the pilot. If you're unlucky, it's someone on the rear-end of a double shift suffering from low blood sugar.

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If the hospital staff did not follow proper proceedures in selecting food for the patient, then they are complicit in any problems that arrise.

This is where I start thinking somebody is being pretty nitpicky. Nobody knows what the woman can or cannot eat better than the woman herself. For example, if she were allergic to peanuts, its up to her to alert the hospital, not for the hospital to find on its own.

It seems the hospital already made a decision about the food without input from the patient. As the patient was conscious, this was a kindness, not a requirement. Had the patient had, all by herself, said that vegetables would kill her that would be one thing. But nobody forced those vegetables down the old the woman's throat. If a patient cannot be responsible about their own health, it makes no sense to hold the hospital responsible for trying, even if they failed in their own right.

The serving of the vegetables was an accident. The eating of them seems quite intentional.

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What's the point of pursuing charges of negligence resulting in death? It will only bring a suspended sentence anyway. The judge will say" but the staff was over worked, and the woman was old anyway. And besides that, nobody forced her to eat, etc etc.

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What Puna said.

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It can't be helped. In Japan when you are given a meal you are expected not to say "like and dislike" and eat it all up like a good little robot, saying "oishii oishii".

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This woman could not figure out how to eat FOOD in a way she could handle? It seems to me that people reasonably die when they can't figure out anymore how to do regular daily activities. Sheesh. This is such a lame story.

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This is where I start thinking somebody is being pretty nitpicky.

hahahahahahaha, coming from you that's a bit rich

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There is not enough information in the article to make informed judgments. Should the vegetables have been finely chopped, rather than sauteed? Why did she vomit up the sautee? Dunno. The whole thing is couched in careful wording to give us as little information as possible.

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but had left her cabbage and carrot sauté untouched

she just didn't want to die

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