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Two patients die after hospitals ignore key safety warning

Two patients have died as a result of NHS hospitals failing to heed warnings about the use of super-absorbent gel granules, which patients mistakenly eat thinking they are sweets or salt packets.

A national patient safety alert has been issued by NHS bosses to all hospitals, ambulance trusts and care homes instructing them to stop using the granules unless in exceptional circumstances.

An earlier alert in 2017 warned the granules, which are used to prevent liquid being spilled, had caused the death of one patient who choked to death after eating a sachet left in an empty urine bottle in their room. The 2017 alert warned hospitals there had been a total of 15 similar incidents over a six-year period between 2011 and 2017.

The latest warning from NHS England says most hospitals concentrated on “raising awareness” rather than stopping the use of gel granules.

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Source: The Independent, 4 December 2019


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