Rest home resident dies after swallowing false teeth

Health authorities in eastern Sweden have reported their own inaction to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) after an 85-year-old man swallowed his false teeth and died.

The man died in early June, two weeks after staff at the rest home where he lived noticed that he had got something stuck in his throat during lunch, local newspaper Hudikvalls Tidning reports.

Care workers at the facility believed the man had accidentally swallowed an entire beef burger.

But that same evening, the 85-year-old complained of having a pain in his throat. Rather than have the problem checked out immediately, staff decided to wait until the next day.

But when the man’s condition deteriorated overnight, he was rushed to the emergency ward at Hudiksvall Hospital. An x-ray revealed that the lower section of his dentures had become trapped in his gullet.

The false teeth were later removed at Gävle Hospital but the patient developed an infection, suffered a heart attack, and died.

Health officials in Hudiksvall have reported the incident to the national health board in accordance with the “lex Maria law”, the informal name used to refer to regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

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