Pensioner died after coughing at the dentist

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 July 2012

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A PENSIONER died after inhaling a crown in a coughing fit at the dentist’s and contracting pneumonia, an inquest heard.

Albert Rimmer, aged 83, of Barrie Way, Burnham, died on February 5 at a hospital in Taunton, coroner Michael Rose heard at Taunton Coroners Court on Thursday.

Mr Rimmer, who was disabled and suffered from dementia, had visited Parkfield Dental Practice in Brent Road, Burnham, on January 9.

He had been having a crown replaced when he had a coughing fit in the dentist’s chair and inhaled the crown.

Dentist Joanna Thompson had been carrying out the procedure and immediately called Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, but got no answer.

She then called Weston General Hospital and arranged to have him taken there.

He was X-rayed and transferred to Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) to have the crown removed from his right lung.

The operation took about an hour – much longer than a routine operation to remove foreign objects, due to difficulties encountered by medics.

BRI consultant surgeon Timothy Batchelor told the inquest how he had removed a penny from a drunk man the day before which had only taken 10 minutes.

Despite the problems, the surgery was deemed successful and Mr Rimmer was transferred to Burnham War Memorial Hospital in Love Lane on January 13.

The court heard how he had appeared to be recovering and was visited several times by GPs.

But he later developed swallowing issues and was transferred to Musgrove Park Hospital on February 3, where he died two days later due to bronchopneumonia.

Coroner Mr Rose said it was ‘impossible to determine’ whether the pneumonia had developed as a result of a slight complication in the operation or whether it had been contracted at the hospital.

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