A man being treated in Royal Bolton Hospital was transferred more than 24 miles away to another hospital because of a shortage of beds, an inquest heard

John Cunniff, described as a man ‘who would do anything for anyone’ was taken to hospital after been found hanging at his home on Fairmount Avenue on August 2 of last year.

He died at the age of 35-years.

Paramedics were alerted and Mr Cunniff, who was conscious, was taken to Royal Bolton Hospital.

An inquest into Mr Cunniff's death took place at Bolton Coroners Court.

Mr Cunniff’s ‘conscious level’ had improved by the time he arrived at hospital and was observed as being “agitated with independent breathing and a pulse”.

He was transferred to the critical care unit.

On August 4, Mr Cunniff was transferred to Stepping Hill Hospital as a result of Royal Bolton Hospital 'reaching full capacity'.

Dr Sharmistha Saha, consultant for anaesthetics and critical care medicine said: “It’s never something that we want to do as a critical care consultant for any of our patients.

“We want to look after patients from the start.

“But unfortunately, the decision was made with the pressures on the intensive care unit.

“When you have more need for your resources than you have availability for your resources, we are forced to move patients to another unit to be able to provide critical care for all patients who need it.

“We made the decision that John and another patient were possibly the most stable.”

Mr Sigee said: "The transfer was completed smoothly, without any deterioration to Mr Cunliff's condition with an effective handover of care being given orally by the medical team which accompanied Mr Cunliff during this transfer."

The inquest heard that “due to human error” Mr Cunniff’s clinical records were not sent with him.

But this was “quickly identified” and corrected without any “impact” on his condition or treatment, and an oral conversation took place between both hospitals, with electronic records also available.

Mr Cunniff’s condition however worsened despite efforts by medics, and he died on August 7.

His family described Mr Cunniff, a NHS analyst, as a ‘wonderful’ and ‘loving’ person with everyone who knew him speaking of him 'fondly’.

In a statement from his partner Dominique Lammas, she said: “He was ‘big heart John’ who was always funny.

“He had a love of travel and enjoyed running and had taken part in various challenges and charity fundraisers.”

The medical cause of death was given as multiple organ failure (with aspiration pneumonia), asphyxia, aspiration of gastric contents and hanging.

Forming a conclusion of misadventure Peter Sigee said: “Given the evidence I have heard and the findings, I offer a short form conclusion as a result of misadventure.

“This means that he did not intend the consequences of a deliberate act.

“I offer my condolences to Mr Cunniff’s family and thank you for your attendance and the evidence, and I am sorry to meet in these circumstances.”

Steps have also been made to make changes and introduce retraining around around patient records when transfers take place.

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