A 96-year-old man living in an old people's home died five days after flesh-eating fly larvae were found in his mouth, the Coroner's Court heard yesterday. An inquest into the death of Lam Hung opened yesterday before Coroner Michael Chan Pik-kiu after death registrars refused to issue a certificate due to uncertainties over the cause of his death. Lam was being cared for at the Ching Yee Home for the Aged in Tai Wai in November 2003. He was taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital on November 18 after larvae were discovered by officer-in-charge Wan Wai-lan during Lam's daily mouth-wash. He died on November 23. Ms Wan was repeatedly asked by Mr Chan if she had been 'sloppy' in conducting a mouthwash on November 17 because worker Chan Loi-tai was away that day. Normally two people were needed to keep Lam's mouth open and clean his mouth tooth by tooth, Ms Wan said. 'So you just did a sloppy job because you could not open his mouth by yourself?' Mr Chan asked. 'But there should have been others on duty on other floors that you could have called for.' Ms Wan had earlier said that during day shifts there were normally five staff members to run the home. She admitted she had not sought help, but was unable to explain why. While Ms Wan said she spent five to 10 minutes on the mouthwash, Mr Chan asked if she had in fact spent only half a minute, citing earlier evidence from a worker. Despite the mouthwash, Lai Koon-chi, a duty doctor at the Prince of Wales Hospital, said the Chrysomya bezziana larvae could still grow in Lam's mouth given his weakened immune system. 'The larvae could still live although Mr Lam's hygiene was good,' Dr Lai said. 'Technically speaking, the way care was given at the elderly home would have had no direct bearing his death.' The inquest is continuing.