Care home resident on mashed food diet died with carrot in throat

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018.

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018. - Credit: supplied by the Seaby family

An undigested piece of carrot was found in the throat of a care home resident who later died from aspiration pneumonia, an inquest has heard. 

The hearing into the death on May 21, 2018 of Peter Seaby started on Monday (August 16) at Norfolk’s Coroner’s Court.

Mr Seaby, 63, had been living at the Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home in Mattishall, and was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on the day he died.

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018.

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018. - Credit: Supplied by the Seaby Family


In opening statements, Peter’s brother, Mick Seaby, and sister, Karen Seaby, both raised concerns over the care he received at the Oaks and Woodcroft, where he was supposed to have been on a diet of soft, moist and mashed food. 

Mick Seaby said: “We are concerned that, in the post mortem, a circular piece of carrot was found near Peter’s larynx, which may have caused some airway obstruction and contributed to Peter’s death. We are concerned that the care home did not follow the care plan.” 

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018.

Peter Seaby, who died aged 63 while a resident at The Oaks and Woodcroft Care Home, in Mattishall in May 2018. - Credit: supplied by the Seaby family


Sue Maunder, a care home staff member who was looking after Peter, said she did not know where he could have got the piece of carrot from.

She said: “He could have picked it up from the floor, it could have come from somebody else’s plate, it could have come from the kitchen.”

On the day he died, care home records show he had “‘shepherd’s pie with veg’ for lunch and that he had coughed while eating and vomited some of his food. 

He was seen to by care home staff, but he also brought up further food and drink he was given that day, and staff were concerned enough to call 111 and he was taken to hospital for further checks.

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Miss Maunder described Peter’s condition that evening as “relatively normal for him”. She said she believed he was content at the care home, where he was taken to live in November 2017.

Miss Maunder said: “He was confused at the beginning, but I believe he settled in well and I believe he was happy there. When his sister visited it would upset him after he left, but that’s quite natural.” 

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs.

Area coroner Yvonne Blake is leading the inquest, which is expected to last two weeks and is being heard by a jury.

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