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Man dies after inhaling surgical glove

PUBLISHED: 17:12 30 November 2010 | UPDATED: 17:53 30 November 2010

A PATIENT at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington died after swallowing a surgical glove, an inquest heard.

Paul Stopes, 69, who lived in Waterside Court care home just off the Harrow Road, died on Feb 18 this year when the rubber glove got trapped in his windpipe and got sucked down into his lungs as he tried to breath, Westminster Coroners Court heard.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: “The most likely explanation is that a glove was wrongly left by someone near him or that he took it when someone wrongly enabled him to take it from a trolley.

“I think the most likely explanation is that he has done this himself. I’m quite satisfied that this was an accident.”

He added: “It’s the first time I’ve heard of this in 85,000 inquests that I have dealt with.”

Mr Stopes, who had mental problems as well as Parkinson’s disease, suffered frequent falls, was unable to swallow and had a history of putting inappropriate objects in his mouth.

Little could be established about the life or history of Mr Stopes, who did not have any known living relatives.

Health care assistant Mary Dinner had been looking after him at St Mary’s on the night that he died. She told the court that he had indicated he wanted to urinate but when she gave him the bottle and helped him he started to have a fit and began shaking.

The hospital has not been able to identify how or where Mr Stopes may have acquired the glove, although the coroner made it clear there was no question of any criminal liability.


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