News & Events
Did Pressure Sores Contribute to a Patient’s Death in a Hackney Hospital?
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: pressure sores
What seems to be substandard care at an East London hospital may have resulted in an elderly patient’s untimely death as well as him being wrongly marked for cremation despite his family’s express wishes for burial.
88 year old Barsey Spencer, a migrant from Jamaica in the 1950s, died in the Royal London Hospital and his daughter believes that untended pressure sore infection was the cause and not Parkinson’s disease as was indicated on her father’s death certificate.
Mr. Spencer had been initially admitted to hospital following a urinary tract infection. His daughter reported that he had already survived prostate cancer in 2001 and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012.
It was while he was in the hospital ward that Mr. Spenser developed pressure sores. These are skin infections which can lead to serious health problems and even death if left untreated. Pressure sores are easy to diagnose and can be prevented by regular movement of the patient and maintaining routine hygiene such as removing soiled clothing and washing affected surfaces.
By the time Mr. Spenser died, he had developed four noticeable pressure sores. These are categorised in terms of order of severity from 1 to 5. The deceased had already developed 2 grade 3 sores on his hip, another grade 3 sore on his ear and a more serious sore still, a grade 4, on his buttocks. This was described as a ‘fist-sized hole’ by one of the family.
Mr. Spencer’s daughter said that she had regularly brought up his condition with the ward sister and even pleaded for a notice to be pinned up above his bed to remind nurses to move him around in his bed to prevent the sores from getting any worse. She said that a request for a special mattress to make pressure sores less likely had been refused, but she was promised an investigation into the standard of care after complaining about treatment of the pressure sores.
For Barsey Spencer’s family of seven children the final straw was the decision by the hospital to send him for cremation after he died ‘because there was no known family’. This was despite the fact that one member of Mr. Spencer’s family or another was present at his bedside every day while he had been in hospital and reportedly had developed a good relationship with ward staff at the hospital.
Whether complications from the existing pressure sores had contributed to Mr. Spenser’s death rather than his Parkinson’s disease and whether his pressure sores could easily have been preventable is now the subject of an internal investigation. This had originally been launched before Mr. Spenser’s death but will also look into whether the standard of care that the hospital had provided was insufficient.
Mr. Spencer’s daughter has demanded a post-mortem and subsequent inquiry into his death.
Pressure sores should not be an issue in a patient of any hospital in a wealthy country like Britain and should not be an issue in any nursing home, either. If you have an elderly relative who is a patient in a hospital or a resident in a nursing home and suspect that monitoring of pressure sores is insufficient in the institution you relative is in, you should first bring this up with the management. If you feel that you are getting nowhere and are worried that the condition of your loved one is deteriorating, or he or she dies, you should contact a personal injury solicitor like Curtis Legal as soon as you can. A personal injury lawsuit can help to remedy poor service and ensure that your relative is looked after in the way that they deserve.