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Man died after swallowing piece of plastic cup while at care unit

PUBLISHED: 11:14 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:39 30 July 2019

Cawston Park. Picture: EDP Library/submitted

Cawston Park. Picture: EDP Library/submitted

A man with learning disabilities who died after swallowing a piece of plastic cup which then restricted his airways had a known history of consuming objects, an inquest has heard.

Cawston Park which is run by the Jeesal Group. Pictures: David BaleCawston Park which is run by the Jeesal Group. Pictures: David Bale

Nicholas Briant died on October 31 last year at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) after a piece of plastic restricted his breathing, causing him to go into cardiac arrest and his brain to be starved of oxygen.

At the time of his death, the 33-year-old was an inpatient at the Jeesal Group-owned Cawston Park in Cawston, which cares for people with complex learning disabilities.

On Tuesday, an inquest into Mr Briant's death, held at Norfolk Coroner's Court, heard how he had been admitted to Cawston Park on November 6 2017.

Giving evidence Nqobile Ncube, the director of nursing at Cawston Park at the time of the incident, said that when he was first admitted Mr Briant would sometimes be aggressive: behaviour that led him to require supervision by two members of staff day and night.

Nqobile Ncube who was director of nursing at Cawston Park at the time of incident. Picture: Colin Finch/EDP LibraryNqobile Ncube who was director of nursing at Cawston Park at the time of incident. Picture: Colin Finch/EDP Library

He added that over the course of his admission as his behaviour improved this level of supervision was reduced.

Mr Ncube told the court: "When Mr Briant was distressed he would need support from staff, sometimes staff had to hold him and protect him from hurting himself, sometimes holding him for a long time was unsafe so we had to put him into seclusion."

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The court also heard how Mr Briant had a recorded history of swallowing objects, often in front of staff and often in a bid to be taken to the NNUH.

Mr Ncube said: "Mr Briant used to swallow things, he would put things like the lens of his glasses into his mouth.

"He used to do most of the swallowing in front of staff and most of it was to gain staff's attention. For example, if he wanted to go to hospital he would put something in his mouth."

The court heard that because Mr Briant often put items in his mouth in front of staff, the risk caused by such behaviour was considered as low, while his other behaviours such as aggression were considered as high risk.

The court was also shown CCTV footage of the night of October 29, when Mr Briant collapsed in a dining area of Cawston Park and staff began performing CPR while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

The inquest, listed for four days, continues.

-An earlier version of this article carried a photograph of Cawston Park which -in the caption- said it had gone into administration. We would like to make clear that referred to previous events and Cawston Park is not in administration.

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