More than a thousand people have signed a petition calling for a medical device to be made readily available in a choking emergency.

Craig Grant set up the petition shortly after the tragic death of two-year-old Sadie Salt, who passed away in hospital in November after choking on a sausage at her nursery in Radlett.

The petition is being supported by Sadie’s family, and Mr Grant believes Sadie’s death was "potentially preventable" if her nursery had a device called a LifeVac.

A LifeVac is described as a "non-invasive airway clearance device" developed to remove an obstruction when someone is choking. LifeVac say its device has saved more than 100 lives around the world.

The device was created in 2015 and is sold without constraints globally – except in the UK, where it is only registered to be used in certain settings like hospitals and care homes.

That’s because shortly after the device was used to save the life of a care home resident in Wales in 2016, the UK’s regulator of medicines; The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), put restrictions on the use of LifeVac, to allow an investigation into a complaint that is believed to have originated from the US.

A LifeVac home kit. Credit: LifeVac

A LifeVac home kit. Credit: LifeVac

Matt Banagan, from LifeVac, said: "Since March 2017 we have been working with the MHRA to enable our device to be once again freely available in the UK but to no avail.

"We have now saved over 100 people globally. The age range of the people saved has been from three-months-old to over 90 years of age.

"It is very sad that people are dying on a monthly basis from choking when all else fails and we could have helped save those lives, or people could have had a choice to save a life."

Mr Grant, who lives in Borehamwood, is hoping his petition will provide further support to LifeVac and its request to get the full registration back.

He said: "After my brother nearly choked, I’ve had an inherent fear of choking. I talk to people about the dangers when I see a child for example being fed a grape.

"A child (Sadie) in my community passed away from choking on a sausage at nursery. This death was potentially preventable if the nursery had a LifeVac.

"I’m not affiliated to LifeVac in any way but I would use the device as the first point of call. I believe they should be available in all schools and nurseries."

His petition, directed at the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has been signed by nearly 1,200 people.

Sadie, who lived in Barnet, died in hospital on November 14

Sadie, who lived in Barnet, died in hospital on November 14

The LifeVac device was recently involved in a study by Warwick Medical School which explored how well suction-based airway clearance devices performed when used on a manikin in a simulated choking event.

Dr Keith Couper, who led the study, said: "This type of study has important limitations, particularly as it is impossible to truly replicate the stress and complexity of a real-life choking event.

"In this study, researchers from the University of Warwick examined how well two new suction-based airway clearance devices (LifeVac, DeChoker) performed compared with using conventional treatment (abdominal thrusts).

"The study recruited 90 participants from the university who were asked to use each of the three techniques on a manikin.

"The main finding was that participants successfully removed the simulated obstruction from the manikin 99 per cent of the time with the LifeVac, compared with 71 per cent of the time with abdominal thrusts, and 74 per cent of the time with the DeChoker.

"The study concludes that further research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and harms of these devices in the management of choking."

The MHRA has not given the LifeVac the all clear to be used in any setting yet because it does not believe it had been given "sufficient" clinical data to demonstrate the safety and performance of the device, for its intended use.

The MHRA did later grant use of the LifeVac in certain situations and settings, and recently acknowledged "good progress" has been made on gathering more data.

The agency is in the ongoing process of consulting relevant experts regarding current clinical data and literature supporting the use of the device.

Mr Grant's petition can be found here.