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NHS Breakdown: "Communication Breakdown" Results in Down Syndrome Patient Starving to Death

Posted Jan 11 2009 4:59pm
I feel like ripping my hair out! How can something like this happen in a civilized country? Martin Ryan, who could not swallow after a stroke, was allowed to lie in a bed and starve to death over a period of 26 days! And surprise, surprise--he had Down syndrome. From the story:
Mr Ryan, who had Down's syndrome, died in hospital in Kingston-upon-Thames. An internal inquiry by the hospital found that doctors had thought nurses were feeding him through a tube in his nose. By the time they found out this was not happening, he was too weak for an operation to insert a tube into his stomach.

He died in agony five days later. Mr Ryan's distraught family, from Richmond, South-west London, are convinced he could have been saved by the correct treatment.

One relative said of him: 'Martin will always be the light of my life. He had a quirky sense of humour and oodles of charm. He was often smiling--he loved to go out, liked the movement of the coach and listening to the music.
I am sorry, it can't rest with a mere "our bad," kind of analysis! At best, this was criminal neglect, if it was neglect: I don't believe it is a coincidence that Martin had Down syndrome. I mean, how can anyone starve to death over nearly a month in a hospital and it go unnoticed? Questions must be answered. What was done when the "mistake" was discovered to try and help him? And why was he allowed to "die in agony?"

This travesty should be investigated at the highest levels of government until the full truth is known!
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