Inquest into the death of 78-year-old Irene Collins from asphyxiation while in residential care

25 July 2019

Following a three day inquest conducted by Stockport Coroner’s Court, South Manchester Coroner, Mr Morris, gave a narrative conclusion stating that Mrs Collins died as a consequence of obtaining a glove while unsupervised at the care home.

Mr Morris will now write a Regulation 28 prevention of future deaths report which will be sent to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

A post mortem found that Mrs Collins had a latex glove lodged in her throat which had blocked her airway.

Suffering from vascular dementia, Mrs Collins was a resident of Firbank Residential Care Home in Ashton-under-Lyne, which specialises in the care of the elderly with dementia. Staff at the home were aware of Mrs Collins’ propensity to put things in her mouth: crayons, flowers and cotton wool although no-one actually saw her ingest the latex glove. The item found at post mortem was consistent with the gloves located in wall-mounted dispensers used at the home and in other nursing and care homes. The inquest heard that, after Mrs Collins’ death, the home removed the glove dispenser and installed signs explaining best practice for the disposal of gloves.

Sarah Cunliffe, an associate in Shoosmiths’ personal injury team who specialises in care home abuse and neglect cases, commented:

‘Mrs Collins was vulnerable, in an advanced state of dementia and totally dependent on the care home staff to help her. Previous incidents of Mrs Collins putting items into her mouth had been witnessed by a number of carers and yet there was a failure to report this correctly to senior management and a failure to update Mrs Collins’ care plan and risk assessment. Mrs Collins should also have been referred for a further mental health assessment and staff should have been more vigilant and aware of the risks posed to her.

‘The family was completely unaware until after Mrs Collins’ death of the previous incidents and was devastated to hear the cause of death. The inquest has however now answered many of their questions and they are pleased that Mr Morris will prepare a Regulation 28 prevention of future deaths report to prevent another tragic death in similar circumstances.’

Irene Collins at her residential care home

Pictured above: Irene Collins

Media Coverage:

Manchester Evening News:

Care Home Professional: 

BBC News (24 July 2019):


Credit: BBC North West.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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