Tokyo High Court acquits assistant nurse in suit over doughnut death
Japan Times -- Jul 29
A high court scrapped on Tuesday a lower court ruling and acquitted an assistant nurse over a 2013 incident in which an 85-year-old woman at a care home in central Japan died after eating a doughnut she was given.

The Tokyo High Court found 60-year-old Kesae Yamaguchi not guilty of negligence, saying her provision of a doughnut as a snack did not violate a duty of care under the Penal Code.

In March last year, the Matsumoto chapter of the Nagano District Court found Yamaguchi guilty of negligence resulting in death after recognizing she was responsible for checking what food the woman was given, as her snack had been designated as jelly. The court fined her ¥200,000 ($1,894).

The case has attracted public attention as it is rare for individuals, rather than facility operators, to be criminally charged over faulty care.

The woman at the care home in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture, ate a doughnut provided as a snack on Dec. 12, 2013, and died about a month later due to brain damage from lack of oxygen.

高齢者がドーナツを食べて死亡した事故で、准看護師に逆転無罪判決です。  准看護師の女性(60):「6年半という長い時間、本当に支えて頂き、ありがとうございました」  長野県安曇野市の特別養護老人ホームで2013年に入居者の女性(当時85)がドーナツを食べた後に死亡した事故で、東京高裁は准看護師の女性に対して一審の有罪判決を破棄し、無罪を言い渡しました。判決では「ドーナツで窒息する危険性などを予測できる可能性は相当に低かった」などと指摘し、「窒息事故などを防止する注意義務があったとはいえない」としました。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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