A “very active” and caring former nurse, mother and grandmother died after suffering a fall in hospital just days after she had been swimming, an inquest has heard.

Sue Whitehouse, 74, passed away at Southampton General Hospital on January 19, 2023.

The inquest heard how she’d been taken to A&E after a fall at home on January 7 - but was later discharged.

Just hours later, her husband Ross became concerned when she began vomiting and phoned an ambulance.

Sue was taken back to Southampton General Hospital, where she suffered another suspected fall while she was alone on January 13.

She began deteriorating on January 15 and sadly passed away four days later, the inquest heard.

READ MORE: Eastleigh woman died after a fall at her home, inquest hears

A post-mortem examination discovered a thin film of blood over the surface of her brain and evidence of bronchopneumonia in both lungs.

The pathologist, Dr Mark Fabian, believed the infection to be the direct cause of death.

But other evidence raised questions over whether Mrs Whitehouse's fall in hospital was a contributing factor to her passing.

Dr George Pengas, from Southampton General, told the inquest that the fall on the ward was not witnessed and that he could not see any immediate head trauma at the time.

He said the fall could have caused the bleed, or the bleed could have been there before the fall.

Before she died, Sue also suffered a number of seizures - which is now thought to be due to the ongoing bleed irritating the brain.

But doctors did not know this at the time and struggled to control the episodes.

In a statement read out by the coroner, registered nurse and Sue’s daughter, Heather Fortnam raised concerns over her mother’s care.

These related to Sue being placed in a noisy area of the hospital, a lack of attention from medical staff in her final days and also a lack of documentation.

Other concerns included the fact paramedics had not asked if she had any allergies before giving her morphine.

But Susie Pike, Divisional Head of Nursing and Professions at the hospital trust said Southampton General has since taken action following complaints from the family including setting up working groups, retraining staff and delivering a new service so families can obtain a second opinion on health matters.

She said: “I am pleased to sat there has been some real appetite and reengaging of the nursing team.

“As a trust there has been a commitment too in terms of delivering on that.”

The coroner, Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, told the family: “I am very very sorry. It clearly caused you a great deal of distress.

“She was herself a nurse for many many years and a very caring individual and very active until quite recently. She had been swimming the day before.”

The inquest was adjourned so the coroner could contact the pathologist again to try and gain clarity over the medical cause of death.