An Inquest Was Held At Norwich Coroner’s Court In December
The family of a much loved grandmother who died shortly after falling from a hospital bed last year have expressed their hope that changes will be made at West Suffolk Hospital after an inquest highlighted a series of flaws in the care she received.
Sheila Coley passed away aged 79 at West Suffolk Hospital in July 2017, just two weeks after she broke her hip falling from a hospital bed. While the fracture was repaired during surgery, she deteriorated and died on 8 July 2017.
An inquest held at Norwich Coroner’s Court on 10th and 11th December heard how the ward was understaffed the night that Mrs Coley fell and nurses were under significant pressure.
Sheila was incoherent and hallucinating upon her admission on June 21st but no assessment of her risk of falls was completed and staff on the ward were unaware that Sheila had been given a sedative by A&E staff. At around 3am of June 22nd she fell, breaking her hip.
Senior Coroner Jacqueline Lake determined that Sheila’s death was as a result of the fall. She also expressed concerns regarding the handover procedure between staff at the hospital and the adequacy of the hospital’s own investigation following the incident. She reserved a right to make a report to the Department of Health in the absence of a substantive response to her concerns from West Suffolk Hospital by 21 December 2018.
Sheila’s daughter, Lucy, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care that Sheila received.
Amie Minns, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office who is representing Sheila’s family, said:
Expert Opinion“This inquest has been very difficult for the entire family, particularly for Sheila’s widower, Terry. Terry remains understandably devastated by the loss of his wife and companion for 50 years.
“The hearing raised some serious issues regarding the care Sheila received, particularly with regards the adequacy of staff handovers and risk assessments completed at West Suffolk Hospital.
“We will continue to work with Terry and his family to ensure lessons can be learned and practices changed so that these avoidable events do not happen again.” Amie Minns - Solicitor
Reacting to the inquest, Sheila’s daughter, Lucy, said: “While it has been very hard listening to details of the final weeks of my mum’s life, it is welcome that significant flaws in her care have been now been identified
“We will continue our fight for accountability with the support of Irwin Mitchell. My mum had a lot of admiration and respect for medical professionals and cared greatly for others; she always put others first and was a dedicated member of the Salvation Army
We just hope that no other family to have to suffer the pain we have since mum’s death. It is about ensuring that changes are made so no other family faces the ordeal that we have.”
Read about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in medical negligence cases.