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Tea death woman had 'horrendous' sore, inquest told
1:46pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
The daughter of a 73-year-old woman who died after she was scalded by a spilled cup of tea has told an inquest of the horror of finding her mother with a "gangrenous" sore four days after the accident.
Margaret Young, a retired nurse, was a resident at the Beechcroft Manor Nursing Home in Gosport, when the cup of tea brought to her by a staff aid was accidentally spilled on to her while she was lying in bed on June 13 last year.
The inquest at Portsmouth heard that her husband, Peter Young, 80, was informed by the staff aid of the accident and had seen that the wound had been dressed by nurses.
The hearing was told that Mrs Young was in the final stages of life and had originally been admitted to the nursing home in June 2011 after suffering a fall.
But when the couple's daughter, Janet Young, visited on June 17 she discovered that the wound was in a "horrendous" state and after a doctor examined her mother, she was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth where she died on June 20.
Ms Young described her mother as a "tea-aholic" who often asked for more cups of tea which she normally had to drink through a straw.
Describing how she found her mother, Ms Young said: "Mum was moaning and groaning like nothing on Earth.
"I pulled her hand away as I was going to kiss her, her hand and gown were stuck to the side in this big green-black mess.
"I was horrified. I went downstairs to ask what was going on, I just asked why it didn't have a dress on.
"I was told I had to accept it was part of her dying which I was upset about. It was just horrendous."
She added that at the hospital: "The smell was horrendous, the doctors were quite shocked by the stench and the wound sore and the gangrene or whatever you call it.
"I was told there was no option of operating because she wouldn't make it.
"She was put on a drip and antibiotics and tended to very caringly, they were brilliant at the hospital."
She added: "I want to know what happened, why she had to go like that, it's a good home that's why we picked it, I just want to know why."
Mr Young, a retired engineer, told the hearing that the staff aid had told him that a cup of tea which had been left on a bedside table had been spilled on to his wife.
He said: "I do not think it was done on purpose, it was an accident, what happened afterwards is what I criticise."
He added: "I went to the matron, she said 'Do not worry about it, very simple, nothing to worry about, we've made a report about it' and I believed her.
"They tended to pass it off as really a non-event. They were playing it down."
Lincoln Brookes, representing Beechcroft Manor, told the inquest that Mrs Young had been seen by a doctor on the day of the accident and again on three of the four subsequent days.
He said that although all the staff were not aware of the tea spillage, the doctor who examined her provided appropriate treatment.
He said: "They started treating the red patch as an infection. They called a doctor, she couldn't tell if it was a scald or an infection but the advice she gave was for both conditions, if it was a sore or infection."
Addressing Ms Young, Mr Brookes added: "A lot was being done, your mum was receiving the best treatment and her last days were as comfortable as possible."