A retired teacher who'd been treated in hospital for Covid had died after an oxygen tube to a face mask came away in a mystery tragedy, an inquest heard.

James Johnson, 83, of Ffordd Elfed, Wrexham, North Wales, a stalwart of the local golf scene, died in January last year at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Mr Johnson had been a patient during one of the major waves of Covid.

Respiratory consultant Dr William Jones told the Ruthin inquest he'd never come across a tube being disconnected before. Mr Johnson's fatal decline would have occurred in a "small number of minutes."

MORE: Tributes paid to Jim Johnson - a stalwart of sport, art and education in Wrexham

A post-mortem examination showed he had Covid pneumonia.

Dr Kath Clarke, assistant director for patient safety who chaired a serious incident review for the health board, said the tube becoming disconnected from the mask was 'really, really unusual and still is."

No fault was found with the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

It was possible Mr Johnson may have leaned on the tubing but the investigation into the tragedy was unable to decide what happened.

The Leader: James JohnsonJames Johnson

A nurse and a healthcare support worker, wearing personal protective equipment, were looking after eight patients in two rooms. Ideally, there should have been two patients to one nurse.

Nurse Catherine Norgrove said patients were observed through windows and the "obs" machine was turned so the screen could be seen.

But when no-one had been in the rooms, machine alarms couldn't be heard.

The Leader: County Hall in RuthinCounty Hall in Ruthin

At 1.30pm she looked at Mr Johnson's monitor.

"I felt there was something not right," the nurse said. A doctor then told her the tubing wasn't attached.

Coroner John Gittins recorded a narrative conclusion.

He said the widower had been admitted to the hospital on January 3 last year and treated for Covid.

A week later his declining condition required CPAP respiratory support.

Due to the pressures of the pandemic it was given using a machine normally utilised for home care.

READ MORE: Covid-19: Wrexham Maelor Hospital under "immense pressure"

The coroner said: "On January 13 staffing pressures meant that only two members of staff had been fit tested, allowing them access to the room where Mr Johnson was being cared for.

"Together they had to care for eight patients, whereas optimum care in a non-pandemic scenario for CPAP patients would have been one nurse to two patients."

It was then noticed that the pensioner's oxygen saturations had dropped and after his death it was realised that an oxygen tube which fed into the CPAP mask was no longer connected.

The coroner remarked: "It's not possible to establish how the oxygen tube had become disengaged. However, the reduction in the delivery of oxygen to Mr Johnson would have led to increasing hypoxia and it is probable that this would have hastened his death."

The coroner said it was a rare situation at a time when the NHS was under "severe" pressure.

He was a stalwart of Wrexham Golf Club, was Head of the Art Department at the Groves School, and wrote athletics and golf reports for the Leader for more than 50 years.

In 2014, he was honoured by Wrexham golf club when he was the recipient of a Life Honorary Membership for his services to the club.

A spokesman for the club said: "The Management Board of Wrexham Golf Club is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Mr. Jim Johnson. Jim was a member of the Club for over forty years, serving on the club Council for 16 years between 1977 and 1993 being Club Captain in 1983 and chairing every committee during his time on Council."