Lancashire family’s search for answers over death

Karen Gilmore with her son Oliver Brange who died in September 2014
Karen Gilmore with her son Oliver Brange who died in September 2014
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  • Devastated parents still waiting for answers over Oliver’s death
  • Handicapped Oliver choked on vomit while in hospital
  • Parents claim anticonvulsant medication he was given impacted his ability to swallow
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Oliver Brange suffered brain damage at birth, was epileptic and couldn’t talk.

But despite his mental and physical disabilities his parents said he had a “lovely life” and although they knew he wouldn’t live to be an old man, they never expected to lose him at just 25 years old.

Oliver Brange, 25, from Kirkham

Oliver Brange, 25, from Kirkham

He died at the Royal Preston Hospital a week after being taken to A&E with a urinary tract infection. Oliver, whose mum and dad Karen Gilmore and Peter Brange were his full time carers, died of aspirated pneumonia.

His parents today claim there was a “lack of knowledge and understanding” at the hospital when treating Oliver and say the anticonvulsant medication he was given impacted his ability to swallow.

They say because he was laid down flat and not propped up he swallowed his own vomit – resulting in aspirated pneumonia.

Karen, 55 and Peter, 64, have serious questions over Oliver’s care in the hospital – he was left with bruising on his face because the ventilation mask he was wearing was too tight and they have questions over the amount of medicine he was given which affected his cough and gag reflexes.

I am devastated. We are trying to come to terms with what has happened.

Today hospital bosses said they have carried out an investigation and have offered to meet with Oliver’s parents to discuss it further.

Mum Karen said: “How can somebody go in with a UTI and fitting and die of aspirated pneumonia?

“I am devastated. We are trying to come to terms with what has happened.”

She added: “We are handing our loved ones over at hospitals and putting our trust and faith in their ability and in our experience they do not take into consideration the complexity of the individuals.”

Today Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Firstly we wish to express our sincere condolences to Oliver’s parents and family.

“Our Customer Care team has carried out an investigation and we have offered to meet with Oliver’s parents to discuss this further.

“We advise all complainants of their rights to contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) if they feel their complaint has not been resolved, and we will work with the PHSO to ensure Oliver’s family’s concerns have been fully addressed.”

The family has complained to the hospital and is waiting to hear back from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Oliver had always had a urine infection called Pseudomonas. If it was at a low level he was fine but if it flared up he had to go to hospital and be put on a drip.

On September 19 Oliver wasn’t well and was having seizures. Paramedics took him to hospital. Karen said: “At that point he did not go in to hospital with pneumonia.

“They were pumping drugs into him. Because Oliver was so complex they had a lack of understanding of what they were doing.

“They told us somewhere in the course of him being in A&E he had swallowed his own vomit, he aspirated.”

Dad Peter said: “He was like the celebrity of Kirkham. He had a lovely life.”