Man with Down's syndrome, 61, who died after hospital left him without food for 19 days suffered 'cruel and horrific' end to his life, sister says
A MAN with Down's syndrome who died in hospital after staff failed to feed him properly for 19 days was "let down by the people who were supposed to look after him", his sister has said.
Giuseppe "Joe" Ulleri, 61, died from pneumonia in March 2016 after struggling to ingest food given through a tube at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
Failure to provide nutrition and treating him while on his back contributed to his death, a jury at Manchester Coroner's Court found last month.
The trust that runs the hospital admitted its care "fell were below our standards".
Now his younger sibling Ria, 48, an actress from London, has slammed the hospital for the "cruel" and "horrific" end to her brother's life.
She told the Daily Mail: "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."
She added: "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."
Joe, the eldest of four children, had been admitted to the hospital after suffering a fall on February 26 at the L'Arche care home where he was living in Withington, Manchester.
He had fractures in his right hip and right wrist, as well as the vertebrae in his neck.
Coroner Angharad Davies said his condition meant he had difficulty communicating and looking after himself.
For medical reasons, he was made "nil by mouth" and had a feeding tube inserted on March 9, but it was removed a day later as he found it uncomfortable, the coroner said.
She said he had "long periods" with "no nutritional support" and for a long time the "only nutrition he had was…when the tube was in place."
On March 18, a thin feeding tube was inserted into the stomach through the skin but jurors heard how he was too weak to survive the operation, and he died on March 20, having suffered from aspiration pneumonia.
His weight had dropped from eight to six stone, the inquest heard.
'STARVED FOR 19 DAYS'
The jury at the inquest returned a narrative verdict.
They said: "During his say in hospital there was a failure in his overall care, specifically nursing him in a supine position and a failure to provide adequate nutrition. This constituted neglect.
"He contracted aspiration pneumonia and passed away on March 20 2016. The failures in care contributed to his death."
Speaking after the inquest Joe's family said his case needed to act as a "catalyst for change".
In a statement they said: "Our brother was the kindest and gentlest soul, yet he was allowed to die in the most horrendous way.
"Not only was he thoroughly neglected, he was starved for 19 days in hospital and denied proper pain management.
"Joe’s entirely preventable and premature death came as a result of the catastrophic failures from the Manchester Royal Infirmary who were supposed to be caring for him."
Professor Jane Eddleston, Joint Group Medical Director at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, that runs Manchester Royal Infirmary, said: "We wish to again offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to Joe’s family.
"The Trust accepts fully the conclusion and findings of the Coroner following the outcome of [the] Inquest.
“The care provided to Joe fell well below our standards and for this we apologise sincerely."
Prof Eddleston said an investigation was launched after Mr Ulleri's death and the trust has implemented a number of measures to ensure that this does not happen again.
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