Nurse’s Guilty Ruling over Aged Woman’s Doughnut Suffocation Death Reversed

Society

Tokyo, July 29 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo High Court has overturned a lower court ruling that found an assistant nurse at a care home for elderly people guilty of professional negligence resulting in death over giving a female resident a doughnut.

The trial has been closely watched amid concerns that a guilty ruling for an individual nurse would put pressure on other care service professionals.

In the guilty ruling issued in March 2019 by a branch of Nagano District Court in the central Japan prefecture of Nagano, the 60-year-old female assistant nurse at the Azumi no Sato elderly nursing home in the prefecture was ordered to pay 200,000 yen in fines.

The assistant nurse fed a doughnut to the 85-year-old female resident as a snack on Dec. 12, 2013, and the elderly woman lost consciousness soon after eating the doughnut due to suffocation. She was immediately sent to hospital in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest and died in January 2014. Papers on the assistant nurse was sent to public prosecutors in May 2014, and she was indicted in December the same year.

Handing down the acquittal ruling on Tuesday, Presiding Judge Kazuyuki Okuma at Tokyo High Court said that the suffocation risk from eating a doughnut and the possibility of the assistant nurse anticipating the risk in the case of the care home resident were both “considerably low.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press