Daughter’s tribute at dad’s inquest

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 January 2011

Coroner's Court

Coroner's Court

Copyright Archant Ltd

A ‘MUCH-loved and well-respected’ father from Weston who died moments after finishing his final meal will be remembered for his ‘jovial’ personality.

Arthur Heal, known as Jim, died just seconds after finishing his lunch at Ambleside Nursing Home in Weston on November 6, Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court was told on Monday.

The 81-year-old grandfather, who had difficulties swallowing, had been at the home in Southside since 2006 and since a choking incident in 2008 he had his food puréed.

After being fed his lunch, with extra gravy as he particularly enjoyed it, at about 12noon the carer left the room for 15 seconds to fetch his pudding, but on returning she found the father-of-three appeared to be choking.

Coroner David Dooley said: “The nurse pureed his food and had merely gone to get his pudding, as we hear he had a healthy appetite, and she said he was in no distress when she left the room.

“Due to problems swallowing it is appears he may have coughed up some of the food.”

Although staff attempted to dislodge the food and by calling another worker to carry out the Heimlich manoeuvre, the former draughtsman died.

In a statement read to the court, his daughter Lucy Williams, who also lives in Weston, said her father was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002 but decided not to undergo an operation due to various risks.

She said in 2006 he began to steadily deteriorate so he went into the care home.

Jim’s late wife Jane, who died in 2007, did ‘everything possible’ to care for her husband and was said to be happy that he was being well looked after at the home.

The couple, who had two daughters and one son, retired to a big house in Victoria Quadrant in the late 1990s.

In her statement Lucy added: “He never liked to be hurried. He had always been laid back physically but quick mentally with a jovial personality.

“He enjoyed taking his dog for walks, visiting the library, reading a lot and bought the Guardian newspaper most days.”

Mr Dooley recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

Speaking after the inquest matron of the care home, Mandy Brown, said: “He was a much-loved and well-respected gentleman.

“He was calm and had strong spiritualist beliefs which carried him far. He never complained and will be very much missed by his family and all staff.”

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