Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
Barnet Hospital absolved over grandmother Beryl Best's death from fall
A hospital’s failure to complete a risk assessment on an elderly grandmother did not contribute to her death from a fall, a coroner concluded today.
Beryl Best, of Ridgeway Avenue, East Barnet, died from head injuries sustained when she fell in a corridor at Barnet Hospital during a short stay in August 2012.
North London Coroner’s court heard how the “mobile” 87-year-old was admitted to the Woodhouse Lane hospital on August 12 last year but that an agency nurse failed to complete a “slips, trips and falls” risk assessment form.
At nearly midnight on August 14, a ward nurse “heard a bang” and found mother-of-two Mrs Best, who was due to be discharged later that week following treatment for an intestinal infection and diarrhoea, collapsed on the floor outside her private room.
A CT scan showed she had sustained bleeding on the brain but was too frail to undergo surgery.
Consultant physician Timothy Gluck told the inquest that at that stage “the die was cast” and the injury would be fatal.
She was placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway, described by Doctor Gluck as “a checklist” of palliative care treatments for patients in the final stages of their life, and she died the following day.
During today’s inquest, at which lawyers for both Mrs Best’s family and Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust were present, Coroner Andrew Walker heard evidence from Elizabeth Odusanya, the general nurse appointed to Mrs Best at the time of her death.
She told the court that, despite the failure of the previous nurse to fill in the risk assessment form, she was aware of Mrs Best’s condition and would not have acted differently.
The nurse said she spoke to Mrs Best at about 11.30pm when she was standing in the doorway to her private room. She said Mrs Best appeared lucid and steady on her feet and told the court she was of the opinion she did not require assistance.
Twenty minutes later, Mrs Best suffered a fall as she left her room for an unknown reason, with no obvious obstacles in the vicinity that would have caused her to trip.
An internal hospital investigation found there was a failure to carry out an appropriate risk assessment but Coroner Walker today concluded this did not contribute to her death.
He recorded a narrative conclusion that Mrs Best “accidentally fell whilst a patient in a hospital”.
Passing his sympathies to the family, who were present at the inquest, he said: “When someone goes into hospital with an infection it must be the last thing in any family member’s mind that the person would go on to fall and then die as a result of that fall.”
A spokesman for Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust said in a statement: "The trust supports the conclusion of the learned coroner following a full and fearless inquest into the death of Mrs Best, and sends its condolences to Mrs Best's family at this sad time."
Comments are closed on this article.