101-year-old died after she was released from hospital following fall
A 101-YEAR-OLD widow died after being sent home from hospital following a fall, an inquest heard yesterday.
Former domestic servant Grace Normington had been found wedged between her bed and a cabinet in the Beech Lodge Residential Home, Burton Road, Derby, on September 5, 2010.
She had a bruised left temple and a cut nose, prompting an ambulance crew to take her to the Royal Derby Hospital.
The hearing was told Mrs Normington was later allowed home but was back in the hospital 13 days later, suffering from "shortness of breath."
A CT scan was carried out on September 30 and revealed a subdural haemotoma – bleeding between the brain and skull – an injury often linked to a fall.
Suzanne Hewitt, consultant in emergency medicine, said neurosurgeons decided not to operate on Mrs Normington and she died in the hospital on October 20, 2010.
Coroner Dr Robert Hunter asked Mrs Hewitt: "If there was an earlier CT scan, is the outcome likely to have been the same?"
She replied: "It is likely to have been the same."
Mrs Hewitt told the hearing: "There is nothing I could find in either of her attendances which would lead to a scan being performed on an urgent basis."
She said the operation carried a "significant surgical and anaesthetic risk."
The hearing was told the CT scan indicated the bleed had been on the left side of her head – but a post mortem found it on the right.
The coroner described that discrepancy as "the elephant in the room" but Mrs Hewitt told the hearing it was "not significant."
Pathologist Gurprit Atwal gave the main cause of death as a severe chest infection linked to the brain bleed, which would have made it difficult for her to get around.
He said the infection had been "picked up in hospital" as there were "no respiratory signs when admitted" to the Royal Derby.
The coroner said there was evidence Mrs Normington developed a cough after she was sent home from hospital and that could be diagnosed as signs of a chest infection.
When the ambulance crew arrived with Mrs Normington on September 5, she was described as being alert with no life-threatening injuries.
Care home records indicated she suffered "an element of confusion under normal circumstances."
The inquest continues.