Staff at care home thought type one diabetic was ill because he had sickness ‘bug’ before he was found dead

PUBLISHED: 18:25 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:24 21 May 2019

James Delaney, 37, died at Sapphire House care home on July 28, 2018. Picture: Submitted

James Delaney, 37, died at Sapphire House care home on July 28, 2018. Picture: Submitted


Staff at a care home thought a type one diabetic who had been without his insulin for more than three days was ill because he had a sickness “bug”, an inquest heard.

The inquest into the death of James Delaney, 37, continued at Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich on Tuesday. Mr Delaney who lived at Sapphire House in Long Lane, Bradwell, was found unresponsive in his bedroom at around 10.27am on July 28, 2018, the court heard.

Tammy Jephcote a former senior worker at the care home, who was also Mr Delaney's "go to" carer was working the night shift on Friday, July 27.

She told the court she was "very close" to Mr Delaney but had been off on holiday in the weeks leading up to his death.

Miss Jephcote said she was told by staff at the care home the 37-year-old had not eaten on the Friday - the day before he died - and had been vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea, in a handover meeting at the start of her shift that night.

She said she was also aware he hadn't administered his insulin that day but thought it was because he was "feeling ill" and had a sickness "bug".

Miss Jephcote told the court she was on the night shift with Kirk Allwright - a support worker at the care home - and carried out 15 minute observations on Mr Delaney to check he was okay.

The former senior worker at Sapphire House said she didn't think his illness was diabetes related, but did try to take his blood glucose levels several times on the Friday night.

Miss Jephcote told the court she pricked Mr Delaney's finger but was unable to draw blood and when she asked if she could try to take his blood again he told her 'no'.

The carer highlighted that she had not received any "specialist" training in how to look after someone with diabetes.

Despite this, defence for Crystal Care - which owns Sapphire House - Mike Atkins, told the court Miss Jephcote and other carers would have been able to "check" Mr Delaney's records to see he hadn't had insulin for more than three days.

Documents submitted to the court showed the care home had a protocol that if a patient had gone more than 24 hours without taking insulin a general practitioner (GP) should have been called - something which did not happen.

Miss Jephcote claimed she was not aware of this protocol.

The inquest continues.

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