Paramedics forced to abandon vehicles to reach Battle two-year-old choking at Butlin's in Bognor Regis, inquest hears

Paramedics rushing to the aid of a two-year-old boy who was choking at Butlin's decided to abandon their vehicles after their path was blocked by bollards at the resort.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 4:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 10:43 am
James Manning died at Southampton Hospital on June 20, 2018

Tom Dimmock, a paramedic, said he made the 'quick decision' to leave the ambulance and proceed on foot because a security guard was 'struggling' to put down the bollards by the Gloucester Road entrance on June 6, 2018, an inquest heard.

Members of the public waved him towards the Ocean Drive restaurant, where James Manning, from Battle in East Sussex, was choking on a piece of sausage and receiving first aid from guests.

James was taken to hospital the same day but died two weeks later.

SEE MORE: Two-year-old from Battle died in hospital after choking on sausage at Butlins, Bognor RegisAn inquest at Crawley Coroner's Court heard that paramedics were initially sent to the main entrance of the site, before being redirected to the Gloucester Road entrance by a security guard.

At this entrance, they found the twin gates closed and a barrier down, and said they waited around 30 seconds for these to be opened. Further down the road, their path was blocked by the bollards, where they decided to leave the vehicles.

Thomas Coke-Smyth, the lawyer representing James' mother, suggested that this caused a delay of around two minutes and 45 seconds in total in reaching James - however Chris Green from Butlin's disputed this and said it was 'quite a bit lower'.

Mr Dimmock said that, when he reached James, his face had gone 'a deep blue' and he had gone into cardiac arrest.

Steve Andrews, another paramedic, removed the piece of sausage from James' throat - describing it as four or five centimetres in length and 'quite a solid piece'.

The sausage was lodged past James' tonsils, which Mr Andrews said were 'the biggest' he had seen in a while and were 'pretty much obscuring the back of the throat'.

The inquest had previously heard that James, who had a history of choking problems, had larger than normal tonsils and was on a waiting list for an appointment at Brighton Hospital about getting them removed.

At 8.36am, James' heart started beating and he started to breathe again. With the bollards now dropped, the ambulance was driven to the door of the restaurant and James was taken to St Richard's Hospital in Chichester.

He was eventually transferred to Southampton Hospital where he died on June 20, 2018.

The inquest today (Tuesday, January 7) also heard from two Butlin's employees who responded to the choking incident.

Rachael Talbot, a team leader at Yacht Club restaurant in Butlin's, was at the venue two doors down from Ocean Drive restaurant when she was called to the scene.

The inquest heard that she was first aid trained, having taken a three day course with an internal trainer at Butlin's in April 2018.

She said that when she reached James, he was already receiving CPR from a guest, who told Ms Talbot that she was an A&E nurse.

Checking the woman was doing what she had been taught to do in her training, Ms Talbot said: "I advised her I was there to take over if she needed."

Ms Talbot said it was a 'busy time' and there were 150 odd guests at the restaurant, as well as three members of staff - one of whom, Kathryn Lander, called the ambulance service.

The inquest continues.