Pensioner’s death caused by care home fall - inquest jury

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Pensioner’s death caused by care home fall - inquest jury

7th February 2013

A pensioner “would not have died in the time and place that she did” were it not for a fall she suffered whilst at a Halstead care home, an inquest has found.

Following a three-day jury inquest at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court, the Coroner Mrs Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a narrative verdict on Wednesday (6 February) after a jury found that the death of 84-year-old Ivy Fitch was “on the balance of probabilities” a result of the head injury she sustained when she fell at Attwoods Manor Residential Care & Nursing Home.

The court heard how Mrs Fitch was living at the care home when she suffered a fall on 28 August, 2011, but that the care home did not seek medical attention for three days.

Etala Anderson, an associate with Fentons Solicitors LLP, representing Mrs Fitch’s children, said it was only when a visiting GP noticed the elderly lady was in significant pain that she received any care. “The doctor actually told the court she was shocked by what she had seen when she discovered Mrs Fitch in that much pain and distress.

“Mrs Fitch was taken to Broomfield Hospital on 31 August, where it was discovered she had broken her right arm,” said Mrs Anderson. “After being discharged back to the home, she suffered another fall from her bed, which was not witnessed by anyone.

“Tragically she died on 14 October 2011, just weeks after this second fall. The cause of death was recorded as bronchopneumonia due to a subdural haemorrhage – a bleed on the brain - she developed as a result of the fall.”

Mrs Anderson said the elderly lady’s family had been left devastated by the loss of their mother more than a year ago. “Throughout that time they have maintained that her death might have been avoided if she had received treatment sooner,” she said,  “and the evidence presented at this inquest has reinforced that belief.

“We are pleased that the Coroner has thoroughly investigated the circumstances leading up to Mrs Fitch’s death, and we particularly welcome her investigations in regard to the care and treatment she received at Attwoods Manor following her fall and before her admittance to hospital.

“We strongly feel that there are still questions to be answered and as we now consider our next course of action, it would be inappropriate to offer any further comment. We would request that the media respect the family’s privacy at this time.”

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