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Nursing home death caused by food preparation error

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A family in western Newfoundland says errors in preparing a tray of food led to a disabled man’s death at the Corner Brook Long Term Care Home. Western Health has apologized for how staff handled a tray of food given to Peter Hickey, a partially-paralyzed patient who, in December, choked to death on brussels sprouts that had not been ground to a purée. He was 53. “I would say the system let us down, and they let Peter down,” said Hickey’s sister, Lucy Sheehan. Hickey, who was severely injured in a 1988 fall, needed his meals served as purées. Sheehan says her family will not sue Western Health but wants changes in how food is served to patients. Sheehan said that the brussels sprouts were served whole and that her brother choked on one while trying to eat it. She says he should never have been left to feed himself. As a result of Hickey’s death, kitchen staff at the facility have now added another safety check to their review of food served to patients.

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