A man with Down syndrome recently died after going 20 days in a hospital bed without food.
The family of Giuseppe “Joe” Ulleri, 61, publically shamed the hospital’s “fragmented” approach to his care after the man was taken to A&E in February 2016 following a fall at his supported living site in Didsbury, Machester, England.
After he was initially discharged, Joe was re-admitted and found to have fractures to his wrist, pelvis, and neck.
His caregivers were told the man needed surgery. Joe also had difficulty swallowing due to an ongoing acid reflux issue, and he was declared “nil by mouth.”
Relatives claim the man was denied food for nearly three weeks due to inaction and miscommunication by the hospital staff, which led to Joe contracting fatal pneumonia.
Joe’s Brother Peter told the inquest that the Manchester Royal Infirmary had “first-rate buildings but third-rate medical care,” adding: “There was a fragmented approach which gave us serious cause for concern.”
Acting area coroner Angharad Davies told the inquest jury:
“Whilst in hospital Joe was looked after by a range of different staff, from nurses, to speech specialists to dieticians.
A decision was made that he would be ‘nil by mouth.'”
“A nasal gastric tube was fitted but that proved problematic and was only in place for 24 hours.
“After that Joe had a long period when he had no nutritional support.”
Joe passed away on March 20, while medics were still debating on how best to feed him. The Manchester city coroner’s court inquest continues.
His sister has since spoken of her heartbreak.
Speaking publicly for the first time since her brother’s death, Ria Ulleri revealed that Joe was ‘sweet and funny’, and that her family did not know the extent of his neglect while he was in hospital.
‘It wasn’t until the inquest that we learned just how much Joe had been neglected. It was horrific. It seemed so cruel,’ she said.
‘All through Joe’s life, we had fought for him to be included and treated with respect.
‘Yet at the very end, he was failed by the people who were supposed to look after him.’
Ria, 48, an actress from London, said: ‘Joe was a sweet and funny man, but he needed support. It is tragic that the people he relied on to care for him were the ones who let him down.