A Black Country hospital chief today promised to carry out a full investigation into a nursing blunder that led to the death of a pensioner.
Walsall Manor Hospital chief executive Sue James pledged to act following the conclusion of an inquest into the death of Willenhall 75-year-old Walter Green.
Mr Green, of Summer Hayes, died at the hospital in September 2007 after staff mistakenly poured a chemical rather than water into a humidifier meant to ease his dry throat, a Smethwick Town Hall jury ruled on Tuesday.
He had been admitted just days earlier to be treated for throat cancer and was recovering from surgery.
Jurors were told how the bottle nurses poured from, marked H20, contained iodine-based gastrografin when it should have contained sterile water.
They delivered a narrative verdict, which read: “It is not known how the bottle came to be on Mr Green’s trolley.
“The bottle had not been labelled to indicate its true contents. The failure to label the bottle was contrary to proper nursing practice.”
The verdict continued: “Inhalation of gastrograffin was the major factor in death, but it is not possible to entirely exclude an infective process and/or aspiration of food material as complicating factors.”
The case is being investigated by West Midlands Police and Health and Safety Executive, and hospital chief Mrs James said she was also starting an inquiry.
“We would like to take the opportunity once more to give our unreserved apologies to Mr Green’s family,” she said.
“After the incident which led to the inquest into Mr Green’s death we took immediate steps to ensure that this could not be repeated.
“Since then we have invested in new scanning equipment which means gastrograffin is now only used under special circumstances by the imaging department.
“We will be conducting a full internal investigation with the staff involved as well as regularly reviewing our processes. We are confident that this will not happen again.”