A stroke victim choked to death on congee when a nurse left him unattended in a busy hospital ward. Coroner Paul Kelly found that Ngai Yiu-nam, 57, a security guard from Sha Tin, died on February 23 after breathing in congee fed to him on his third day in Prince of Wales Hospital. A verdict of accidental death was recorded. Mr Ngai was in a fully occupied ward with 27 beds, staffed by only one nurse and a trainee on the day he died. He was admitted on February 21 after suffering dizziness and was found to have high blood pressure and blood-sugar levels. Prince of Wales Hospital's Dr Chan Kui-fat, who performed the postmortem examination, said Ngai died because congee became trapped in his bronchial system. A pre-existing heart condition might have made resuscitation difficult, he said. The day after Ngai was admitted he was unable to co-ordinate his right side. An urgent brain scan revealed he had suffered a stroke. Prince of Wales Hospital medical officer Dr Chan Kin-yin said Ngai was tested to see if he could eat and was observed for any signs of choking, dribbling or coughing. He passed the test. The next day, staff nurse Tsui Lai-kwan found Ngai had not eaten his breakfast and started feeding him. He had eaten about half a bowl of congee before he started coughing and vomiting. A machine was used to remove any trapped food, and she left the patient for about 20 minutes with his bed in a more upright position in order to avoid further choking. When she returned, he was dead.