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Case Study

Man dies following blunders with tracheostomy tube in private ICU

Sir Michael Caine was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel. He was advised to undergo surgery to remove the cancer. He did not do well after the operation and he required artificial ventilation.

Approximately a month later, an anaesthetist indicated that his breathing tube could be removed and that plans could be made for him to come home.

Unfortunately, at this stage his tracheostomy tube became blocked and there was significant delay in clearing the blockage. He suffered a cardiac arrest and severe neurological damage. He never regained consciousness.

Paul McNeil was instructed by Baroness Nicholson to represent the family at the inquest.

The Coroner pronounced a verdict of “misadventure”. It became clear that the staff in the private hospital were not adequately trained and that the anaesthetic clinicians were sited at the local NHS hospital 10-15 minutes away.

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