Norfolk, 16 August 2021: The inquest into the death of Peter Seaby, a man with Down’s Syndrome who died at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, Norfolk, in May 2018 begins today. The Inquest is scheduled to last for 2 weeks at Norwich Professional Development Centre.
Peter died aged 63 at the care home where he had been a resident for almost 6 months. He had previously been cared for by his sister, Karen Seaby, but in November 2017 he was moved into The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home for a period of ‘respite’. However according to the family Peter became a permanent resident explicitly against the wishes of his family.
The day prior to his death, 21st May, Peter started vomiting profusely. He was taken to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where he sadly died.
Peter had significant swallowing difficulties and was at risk of choking on his food. A care plan was in place at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, which stated that Peter’s food should be a “soft, moist, mashed consistency”.
Despite this care plan the post-mortem report revealed that a large piece of carrot was lodged in Peter’s throat. It was later confirmed that the size of this carrot was approximately 2 cm in diameter
In November 2019, a multi-agency Learning Disabilities Mortality Review report concluded that Peter’s death was, on balance, potentially avoidable.
Speaking ahead of the Inquest, Peter’s brother, Mick Seaby said:
“It’s over three years since Peter passed and left a huge hole in our lives and our hearts. We want the truth about his death, so that we can stop this from ever happening again to any other family. Peter should have received proper care, his life mattered, and the lives and care plans of other people with similar needs also matter”.
Karen, Peter’s sister, added:
“Peter was not only my brother, but my best friend. If we, his family, had been able to look after him he would still be with us today. It was clear that the care home staff did not have the medical knowledge to look after Peter’s needs. We want to ensure no other family has to go through the pain of losing a loved one in these circumstances again.”
Priya Singh, Associate, at Hodge Jones & Allen, representing Peter’s family, said:
“Peter’s death, and the circumstances of his death, have been an incredibly difficult experience for the Seaby family. Unfortunately, however, the death of a disabled person in a care home is not an uncommon event.
“Over the next two weeks, we will be pursuing a thorough and detailed examination of how and why Peter died. We will not only look into the cause of Peter’s death, but the potential failings of The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home. We need to find out if the care plan was followed and if not why not – those who are tasked with looking after our most vulnerable must be accountable.”
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