Paramedics rushing to save toddler choking had to abandon ambulances

Paramedics rushing to save toddler choking on sausage at Butlin’s were forced to abandon ambulances after bollards and gates blocked their way, inquest hears

  • James Manning choked on a sausage at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex 
  • Paramedics had to abandon ambulances as route was blocked, an inquest heard 
  • Both proceeded on foot before rushing the boy to hospital on June 6, 2018
  • The obstructions caused delay in treating the toddler, who later died in hospital

A toddler choked to death at a holiday camp after paramedics responding to the 999 call were forced to abandon their ambulances as they found their way blocked by bollards and gates, an inquest was told.

James Manning, two, choked on a sausage during his breakfast on holiday with his family at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

As holidaymakers battled to save the toddler with CPR and back slaps emergency services were called.


James Manning, two, choked on a sausage at Butlin’s in Bognoir Regis, West Sussex. The toddler’s mother, Natalie, arriving at the inquest in Crawley yesterday

Ambulance staff arriving yesterday at the inquest. Today it was heard that both emergency vehicles found their passage blocked by a set of drop-down bollards 

But paramedics in two ambulances found their passage blocked by gates, barriers and bollards. They were forced to abandon their vehicles and continue on foot.

The obstructions meant there was a delay in treating the toddler who later died in hospital.

Today an inquest in Crawley, West Sussex, heard emergency services were called after James began choking on a piece of sausage at breakfast in the Ocean Drive restaurant shortly after 8.15am on June 6 2018.

Initially a single-person response ambulance was directed to the main entrance of the holiday park but when he arrived he was told to go to a different beachside entrance.

A second ambulance joined the race round to the second entrance and both emergency vehicles arrived less than two minutes later.

However when they turned up with their blue lights flashing and sirens on the female security staff looked ‘surprised’.

Paramedic Tom Dimmock said: ‘There was a female security guard who looked a bit surprised to see us.’

He said she had to radio for authorisation before opening a set of gates and lifting a separate barrier to let both ambulances through.

But once through both sets of gates both emergency vehicles found their passage blocked by a set of drop-down bollards.

A second security guard was attempting to lower the drop-down bollards but was having problems so paramedics in both vehicles made a decision to run to the stricken toddler.

Butlin’s holiday park in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. An inquest heard James began choking during breakfast in the Ocean Drive restaurant shortly after 8.15am on June 6 2018

Mr Dimmock told the inquest: ‘He was struggling with them so I made the decision to proceed on foot.’

He grabbed a primary response bag and the defibrillator and sprinted off towards the restaurant where James was choking.

Another paramedic, Steve Andrews, who was in a single-person response ambulance, also grabbed a medical bag containing drugs, jumped out of his vehicle and followed.

He said: ‘I ran after Tom. I could see Tom had reached the restaurant door I was probably 10-15 seconds behind him.’

The paramedics found James – who was blue in colour – lying on the ground being treated by a first aider.

They immediately took over and began trying to clear his airway from food debris and managed to remove the obstruction. Once they had stabilised the toddler he was rushed to hospital but died two weeks later.

The inquest was told the cause of death was hypoxic ischemic brain injury – or oxygen starvation – after a cardiac arrest following the choking incident.

The hearing was told James had enlarged tonsils and had suffered a history of choking on solid food in the past. It was proposed he underwent an operation to remove his adenoids and tonsils to alleviate the problem and assist his swallowing.

But despite being referred to the Ears, Nose and Throat department at the Royal County Sussex Hospital two months earlier, Miss Reeves had heard nothing. Just a fortnight before the incident she called the hospital and begged them to do something for her son.

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