Autistic man died hours after swallowing play brick

Flax Bourton Coroners' Court.

Flax Bourton Coroners' Court. - Credit: Archant

A SEVERELY autistic man died from acute pneumonia after swallowing a wooden play brick, Flax Bourton Coroners Court heard.

James Alexander Lowe, aged 20, swallowed the block, which was around one inch cubed, where he lived at Daneswood Care Home in Cuck Hill, Shipham, in September last year.

Assistant coroner, Dr Peter Harrowing, said Mr Lowe swallowed the brick between 24-36 hours before he entered Weston General Hospital after feeling unwell and believed to be suffering with a chest infection.

Dr Harrowing said: “While in the department he sadly collapsed.

“Dr Andrew Newton attended to him and during the course of resuscitation, he discovered the presence of a small play brick around one-inch cubed.


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“Despite all the best efforts with resuscitation he sadly did not survive.”

The court heard how Mr Lowe may have swallowed the brick in the television room at the care home, but no-one was aware of what had happened.

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Mr Lowe’s parents, Mary and Phillip, said: “It was a tragic accident but we are very grateful to those at the Daneswood for everything they did for James and staff at the hospital.

“We were there and saw they did everything they could for him, and we are very happy with everything they tried to do.

“He had very special needs so from his perspective, it was a challenge and it was difficult for him and the care he received at Daneswood gave him a much better quality of life.”

Daneswood Care Home planted a tree and held a special service for him two weeks ago.

Concluding the inquest, Dr Harrowing said: “Detective Constable Mark Probert found no issues of concern in James’ care and I understand the family has no criticisms whatsoever and there was no obvious third party involvement.

“James died from acute pneumonia after swallowing a play brick which became lodged in his oesophagus.”

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