April 24, 2024

Neglected disabled man starved to death in UK hospital, says report

Disability rights campaigners outraged
Martin RyanDisability rights campaigners in the UK expect that a health ombudsman will deliver a withering report on how disabled people far in the public health system. The British charity Mencap, which campaigns for proper health care for disabled people, instigated the report by documenting the unnecessary deaths of six disabled people.

One, which was highlighted recently in the London Mail, concerned a Down syndrome man who died of starvation. Martin Ryan, 46, had been hospitalised in 2005 after a stroke left him unable to communicate. He was a difficult patient and there was a massive communication breakdown between nurses, doctors and speech therapists. According to an internal inquiry in Kingston Hospital, doctors had thought nurses were feeding him through a tube in his nose. By the time they found out this was not the case, he was too weak for an operation to insert a tube into his stomach. He died after 26 days without food.

Mark Goldring, Mencap’s chief executive, said: "Our report exposed the horrific deaths of six people with a learning disability who died unnecessarily in NHS care… [the NHS] needs to make it impossible for people with a learning disability to continue to die unnecessarily. A failure to do this would be irrational and perverse." ~ Mail, Jan 9; Death by Indifference report