Royal Shrewsbury Hospital: Man dies after banging his head in bed

Max Dingle, 83, caught his head between the rails and mattress of his hospital bed (Image: PA)

A retired police officer has been killed after his head was trapped between the rails and mattress of his hospital bed in a “preventable accident,” according to a coroner.

Max Dingle, 83, went into cardiac arrest and died 15 minutes after being discovered at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on May 3, 2020.

Chief Medical Examiner John Ellery noted that medical staff made no attempt to resuscitate the pensioner, even though he had a pulse and opted for life-saving surgery.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was fined £1,333,334 earlier this month for failing to provide safe care to Mr Dingle and another patient whose case is unconnected.

Mr Ellery said the Welsh pensioner from Newtown had been taken to hospital a week earlier, on April 27, with “shortness of breath”.

His medical history showed that he suffered from heart problems, lymphedema and sleep apnea.

The coroner said an initial post-mortem found the cause of death to be heart disease, “and did not consider the entrapment” to be the cause.

But Mr Dingle’s son Phil did not “accept” these results and hired pathologist Johan Duflou to review the results.

Prof. Duflou gave the cause of death as “confinement with positional asphyxiation”.

After comparing their findings, both pathologists agreed that “entrapment played a significant role in the cause of death,” said Mr. Ellery.

An inquiry was launched and adjourned while the CQC pursued a separate criminal case against the NHS Trust.

The criminal investigation ended this month after the trust admitted to default.

Concluding the inquiry, Mr Ellery said: “Based on all the evidence, the conclusions of this inquiry are that Mr Dingle’s death was a preventable accident.”

In a statement, Dingle’s son Phil said: “I am grateful for the support of the CQC and the coroner throughout this trial – and that justice has finally been achieved.

“I find it incredible that a hospital should be allowed to investigate a death that is considered a major incident and unexpected death for itself and come to an unbiased conclusion.

“My understanding is that the police are responsible for investigating deaths, not hospitals.

“There are still a number of unanswered questions; why my father was not resuscitated within 15 minutes after he was found, why the hospital did not give the pathologist the full timeline of my father’s death.

“I will refer these and more to the hospital. My father was always searching for the truth and I’m glad the truth came out today.’

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Justin Scacco

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