It was “three weeks of hell” – and exactly the way a Hampshire pensioner’s family say he did not want to die.
Grandfather-of-four Ernest Carpenter, who was known as Roy, went to Southampton General Hospital for a check up after he had fallen over at home.
But three weeks later he died in his hospital bed – and his family say his care was to blame.
Now Southampton Coroner Keith Wiseman is to write to the hospital to outline concerns raised by the family at an inquest.
Mr Carpenter, 85, was originally taken in for a scan which revealed bleeding on his brain following the fall at his home in Chandler’s Ford.
Medical staff told his family he was likely to go home soon.
But two days after he was admitted, Mr Carpenter fell over again while trying to walk to the toilet with an IV drip stand, which caused brain injuries that led to his death.
That fall in September 2010, came just hours after an occupational therapist had assessed Mr Carpenter as being able to walk independently – a conclusion that his family say was wrong.
The inquest heard Mr Carpenter had initially gone to hospital because of his daughter’s concerns about his ability to move safely.
But an assessment by occupational therapist Abbi Ward, who looked at his ability to walk 20 metres and tackle stairs, found that he was “independent and safe when mobilising” – a judgement that was passed onto nurses looking after him.
Mrs Ward told the court that she always erred on the side of caution when assessing patients but believed Mr Carpenter could walk by himself.
But his daughter, Anita Keelor, said she believed that judgement was wrong and that Mr Carpenter should have had help to get to the toilet.
She said: “To say his mobility was absolutely fine, I would totally disagree with your view on that – seeing my father once or twice a day, that simply wasn’t the case.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Keith Wiseman said he would write a letter to the hospital.
Letter He said: “A letter from me to the hospital may help in any ongoing matters that might need to be considered. “Anything that I say will not suggest that the actual assessment was incorrect at the time – I have been told it was a snapshot and I have no reason to imagine that any risks had been taken in that assessment.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Keelor said that she has lodged a complaint with the hospital.
She added: “We’re hoping they will change their procedures because of what we went through.
“It’s just a tragic waste of a life – to have three weeks of that hell.
“And that would have been dad’s worst circumstances to go out in.”
The head of patient safety at the hospital, Gail Byrne, said: “The trust has stringent processes in place to ensure the safety of patients and minimise the risk of falls while maintaining patients’ independence and, in this instance, that assessment was performed correctly and supported by the coroner. “We urge Mr Carpenter’s family to contact us directly if they have any outstanding issues they feel have not been answered by the inquest.”