An inquest has found that a lack of oxygen contributed to a patient’s death at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn.

Peter Knight, 70, died after being transferred between hospital wards without an adequate oxygen supply. Mr Knight had a terminal lung condition which required oxygen 24 hours a day but was able to move around his home unaided and live independently.

On Tuesday 5 June, Mr Knight’s wife noticed he had become breathless and called an ambulance. Mr Knight was admitted to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a lung infection and given treatment. On 5 June, Mr Knight was transferred from the medical assessment ward to another ward.

The nurse overseeing the transfer failed to check his oxygen levels or supplies and Mr Knight was transferred without oxygen causing him to gasp for air and turn blue. Due to his long-term condition, Mr Knight was not resuscitated and he died later that day.

The nurse overseeing the transfer Maija Muklicova said she had been distracted by other members of staff as she prepared Mr Knight for his transfer. When asked what caused the lack of oxygen on the transfer she replied “My fault. I didn’t follow correct procedure for the transfer of a patient on a high-level oxygen machine.”

The cause of death was given in court as acute exacerbation of pulmonary fibrosis, with a secondary cause of heart disease. Summing up, the coroner said although Mr Knight could have died at any time, lack of oxygen did contribute to his death.

Mrs Lake said she did not find Mr Knight had been neglected by the hospital. She said: “I am satisfied that the legal definition of accident is appropriate as a conclusion in this case so my conclusion is accident.”

Adam Korn represented the family and was instructed by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.


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