Thursday, October 20, 2011

Power cut kills Pembroke nursing home man on ventilator

BBC News 19 October 2011

A power cut during the night killed a man with muscular dystrophy as nursing home staff were unable to connect a back-up power supply, an inquest heard. Gavin Proctor, 35, a resident at the Ashdale home in Pembroke, was on a ventilator to help with his breathing. A jury, which returned a narrative verdict, heard he probably would have lived if an emergency generator or a battery pack was connected.

The power failure happened early on 4 January 2009, cutting off the supply to his ventilator and knocking out all the lights. Senior managers at the home told the jury staff were told regularly how to switch on a back-up generator in an emergency. However the inquest heard even if the generator had been switched on, it would not have saved Mr Proctor's life because it did not provide power to his room. Staff would have had to run extension leads to him in the dark, or use back-up battery packs.

The nurse on duty that night, Helen Corcoran, said she had never connected the battery pack before, which Mr Proctor used for going outside, and was not able to see because the torch she found was not working. Mr Proctor suffered a cardiac arrest and died at the scene.

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