North West Wales

Jasmine Lapsley inquest: 'Panic' after girl choked on grape

Jasmine Lapsley Image copyright Daily Post

A father has told an inquest how he felt medical staff failed to take control as his six-year-old daughter lay dying after choking on a grape.

Jasmine Lapsley, from Liverpool, was on holiday with family in Morfa Nefyn, Gwynedd, when she began struggling for breath on August 19, 2014.

Her father Robert told the Caernarfon hearing that ambulance staff looked "panicked" when they arrived to help.

She later died at hospital in Bangor.

Mr Lapsley told the inquest Jasmine was playing cards with one of her two brothers when he heard his wife Kathleen shouting: "She's choking. Jasmine's choking."

He said: "I jumped over the back of the couch. I grabbed her. I started hitting her on the back."

When that failed to stop his daughter choking, he started abdominal thrusts, however shortly after "her whole body stiffened," he said.

While his mother and his wife rang an ambulance, Mr Lapsley took his daughter outside and laid her on the grass.

Image copyright Shirley Roulston/geograph
Image caption Jasmine Lapsley had been on holiday with her family in Morfa Nefyn

A neighbour, off-duty police officer Aled Hughes, and later his wife Awen, came to help.

The inquest heard Mrs Hughes was a trainer of community first responders, and took over efforts to revive Jasmine.

Mr Lapsley said: "When they were doing CPR they were helping Jasmine. The colour returned to her cheeks."

He described how his daughter moved while Mr and Mrs Hughes were trying to treat her, and it gave him "some hope".

'Seemed emotionless'

The inquest heard that a fire crew was flagged down, about 15 minutes after Jasmine started choking.

Mr Lapsley said he could hear one of them saying "Where is it? Where is it?" He said they were talking about the helicopter, adding: "They were frustrated."

He also told the inquest: "I'm sure I heard one of them say 'no, we need it in the air now'."

When two community first responders arrived, Mr Lapsley said they were asked if they had suction with them. He said they "shrugged their shoulders," adding: "They just seemed emotionless if I'm being totally honest."

An RAF helicopter arrived, and Jasmine was driven in the ambulance the short distance to where the helicopter was waiting.

Before she was carried to the helicopter from the ambulance, Mr Lapsley said: "We were literally just left standing in the car park.... the doors were open, they closed the doors on us."

He said: "We didn't know what was going on," adding that it looked as though the ambulance staff were panicked.

He later told the inquest: "Nobody took control."

After Mr and Mrs Lapsley arrived at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor they were told Jasmine "might not make it through the night".

After seeking the advice of specialists, treatment was withdrawn and she was pronounced dead at 23:58 BST.

The inquest continues.

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