Labourer died at son's home while on alcohol detox course

Norfolk Coroner's Court at Carrow House. Photo: Antony Kelly

The inquest of Keith Hills was held at Norfolk Coroners Court in Norwich - Credit: Archant

The death of a labourer while on an alcohol detoxification programme led to a major review at a dependency service, an inquest heard.

Keith Hills, 53, was staying at his son's flat in Great Yarmouth as he undertook an alcohol detoxification programme run by Change Grow Live (CGL).

Mr Hills was found in an unresponsive state by his son Jason at the Beatty Close flat on December 18 last year and he gave him CPR before paramedics arrived to try and save his life.

An inquest heard Mr Hills, a father from three Greyfriars Way,  was on day four of an alcohol detoxification programme, which saw him given new medication to help him.

He had been on other medication for his health problems and pain at the time and had a history of alcohol and drug dependency.

His cause of death was giving as toxicity from a combination of medicine with obesity and an enlarged ventricle being contributing factors.

Daughter Hayley Hills told the inquest she had doubts about his home de-toxification programme and its new medication on top of his current medication he was taking at the time.

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She said: "I don't understand why my father died.

"I am truly concerned medical professionals let him down."

The inquest heard Mr Hills, who lost his wife in 2019,  had asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). He had struggled mentally after the death of his wife and had drank heavily.

He had been known to CGL since 2018 and had undergone other detoxification programmes but had lapsed.

The inquest heard no notes were kept about the final decision to place Mr Hills on the detoxification programme, which it was said he had been ambivalent about. 

There were also concerns over the monitoring process.

Dr Hayley Pinto, who was lead consultant at CGL at the time, said on reflection she did not know if "it was the right decision or not".

CGL had launched an investigation since Mr Hills' death and "significant" improvements had been put in place, such as increased communication and better training and record keeping.

Families and carers are also now invited to meetings before programmes start. 

Norfolk assistant coroner Johanna Thompson recorded a verdict of accidental death and said no further action was needed due to improvement actions taken by CGL.