AN ELDERLY woman died looking “black and blue” after suffering a series of falls while unsupervised by nurses on a Southend Hospital ward.
Grieving relatives of Jean Kouspetris, 80, are now considering taking legal action against the hospital trust after Essex Coroner, Caroline Beasley- Murray, said the number of falls she suffered while unsupervised on Blenheim Ward may have led to her death.
Her daughter Chris Brampton, 55, told the inquest at Chelmsford Coroners’ Court Mrs Kouspetris, also known as Jeanie Mole, went in for checks after falling on the carpet at home without a mark on her on April 17, 2011. But her mother died “black and blue” after fracturing her skull on a ceramic shower tray as she tried to get to the toilet unaided on April 23.
Speaking after the inquest Mrs Brampton, of Apple Tree Close, Southchurch, said that despite ringing a bedside buzzer for assistance to go to the toilet, nurses on the “understaffed”ward repeatedly ignored her mum and other elderly patients.
She said: “They knew she was at risk of falling, but she was not constantly monitored and no one came to the buzzer so she tried to get to the toilet herself.”
After an initial fall, when she cut her leg, her daughters said they were informed checks had been done, along with a head scan, and gave her the all clear.
Mrs Brampton added: “After the first fall they should have watched her the whole time and responded to the buzzer, but didn’t.
"We found out about another fall we were not told about during the inquest.”
Hospital policy says relatives should be informed of all falls.
After the first fall relatives asked for her to be moved to a smaller room and for the toilet door to be locked so she was not at risk of hitting her head on a ceramic surface. However, the inquest heard although she was moved, the door was never locked and she subsequently slipped into the shower.
Mrs Brampton added: “The coroner agreed the door should have been locked and their were gaps in the notes and documentation.
There was no record of social services visiting her.
“We blame the hospital and are speaking to a solicitor.
“Sometimes staff would be laughing and joking when there were people screaming for help.
It was negligent, they said she had dementia when she did not.”
Jean slipped into a coma on May 3, 2011 and died two days later on May 5.
Recording a narravtive verdict, Mrs Beasley-Murray, said: “All of these falls may have contributed to her death.”