• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can access this area by going to the Health and wellbeing forum >here< or you can directly access the area >here<.

Wrongful death of our step-mum

Benrese

Registered User
Apr 12, 2014
185
Lancashire
Hello all,

Thanks in advance for your help and input on this. If you've read my previous posts, you will know that my husband's step-mum passed away just days after Christmas.

She had Vascular Dementia, but was refusing help, refusing treatment and of course-forgetting her blood pressure meds.

A week before Christmas she had a fall and hurt her head. She had started having a few falls (which we suspect would have been small strokes potentially) and not knowing why she fell.

The week before Christmas she called and was weeping with head pain from her fall. She first went to her GP, where she said she was much better. He told her to go home as long as she had family there with her. She lied-she didn't. Later that night the headache came back and we called an ambulance, with the DEEP hope that they would see the state of her, her house and her health.

We awaited word the next morning on how she was getting on in hospital and what the head scan showed. But, no-she was home!! She was sent home. She told the hospital she felt much better, they figured she was fine and NEVER scanned her head.

A week later she was gone.

An inquest is now being held as she died from a subdural haematoma.

There is more to this story, starting with me sending her GP letters last April, begging for some information and help for a struggling step-mum. We also sent the DVLA an anonymous request. All of that and contact with Social Services-still....nothing. :rolleyes:

Funnily enough, we received a call from Social Services a couple of days ago, after they had told us (yes they said this!) "Well, we cannot simply go contacting people simply because they are forgetful. All of us are forgetful sometimes". :eek:

We had the sickening privilege of telling them not to bother, she's dead. :mad:

So now, we are awaiting her to be released for the services. But, I would also really like to know how I proceed to make sure we follow-up regarding this needless death.

Does anyone have any links or ideas where we start? Sure, I understand that maybe it will be difficult and it won't bring her back. But, I cannot, in all good conscience , just leave it. I don't want this to ever happen to anyone else, not ever. I want to be sure we are heard on behalf of step mum, who will never have a chance.

As always, thank you kindly for your support. We have only made it through this horrible time with the kindness and support of people like you.

Cheers,
Benrese
 

bemused1

Registered User
Mar 4, 2012
3,402
I can't help with advice benrese but I couldn't just read and run . this is so awful and for some of us strikes a very bitter chord. My husband refused diagnosis or help and without me there is no doubt this would have been his fate.
I hope someone cones along with practical suggestions soon but in the meantime I am sorry for your loss. Shout loud and clear for all those poor people in that same place.

Sent from my Hudl HT7S3 using Talking Point mobile app
 

susy

Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
801
North East
Is this going through a coroners inquest? I would have thought it would have to bearing in mind the post mortem results????

If it is then go through the coroner, if not then contact the local coroners office and ask there for help. Please do this tomorrow. X
 

Benrese

Registered User
Apr 12, 2014
185
Lancashire
Bemused, thanks so much for your kind words and support. These mean so much to us at this time! x

Susy, yes, this is going through an inquest via the Coroners. We will call tomorrow to try and figure how how to get hold of this particular Coroner. I know they will review the neglect of the hospital sending her home, but I also want to ensure they have the entire paper-trail of what was done as far back as April to try get her some help.

Many thanks!
 

garnuft

Registered User
Sep 7, 2012
6,585
Had a quick 'google' and found this on claims.co.uk...


NHS Trusts, hospitals, health authorities and general practitioners have a duty to set up, and publicise to patients, a complaints procedure, usually under a Complaints Manager, who should be readily available. Complaints should be made within six months of the date of the medical accident complained of, or within 6 months of the date when you knew of your injury provided that is within 12 months of the accident. Those dates can be extended at the discretion of the Complaints Manager.

If you complain under the NHS complaints procedure this should be done as soon as possible while memories are fresh. But beware: at present NHS complaint investigation procedures are not available if disciplinary procedures are being taken or if you have stated, in a letter or orally, that you intend to take legal action. If you decide to ask a solicitor to act for you in making your complaint – work, by the way, which cannot be funded through legal aid – this may be taken as evidence of such an intention.

The unfairness of this rule was recognised by the Chief Medical Officer in his report Making Amends published on June 30, 2003. It is scheduled to be abolished.

Step 1: Local resolution: Make your complaint, orally or in writing, to the person responsible locally (usually the Complaints Manager) at your GP, NHS Trust (hospital), or dentist. If you do not want to go to directly to the GP’s practice you can ask the Complaints Manager at the local health authority (his details will be with the GP) to mediate.

You should receive acknowledgement of a written complaint within three working days and may be invited to a meeting with the health care provider within 10 working days. The complaints team will investigate – obtain the medical records and notes, interview staff and provide an explanation. If you are dissatisfied ask for a written explanation. Your complaint should be answered within three weeks.

Step 2: Independent Review: If you are not satisfied with the local resolution you may now seek an Independent Review from the Healthcare Commission above.

If your request is refused, or if you are dissatisfied with the panel report, you can complain to the Health Service Commissioner for England (Health Service Ombudsman) www.ombudsman.org.uk. Her function is to investigate and report clinical and family health service complaints; complaints about health authorities and health carers, and make recommendations. But she will not usually investigate your complaint unless you have first made your complaint through the NHS complaints procedure. She will not investigate if you have a remedy in the courts unless she is satisfied that it was unreasonable to expect you to resort to litigation.

The complaints system and litigation

One objective of the complaints procedures outlined above was to avoid litigation. Nevertheless the procedure may provide evidence on which a decision can be taken whether or not to bring a legal claim. In fact funding from the Community Legal Service fund may be refused to a clinical negligence claimant unless it has been established that the NHS complaints procedure has been used – a Catch 22 situation which explains why some solicitors may be rather coy in letting the NHS Trust know they have been consulted.

If you were a private patient you cannot make use of the NHS complaints procedures. You should make your complaint directly to the doctor, surgeon, private clinic or hospital concerned. Normally the situation is that the patient has a contract with the doctor or surgeon who uses the clinic’s facilities. All the parties should be insured for liability risks and if you make a claim for damages that will be passed on to the insurers
So I would deduce from the small snippet I've read, that you must make a complaint through the complaints procedure of GP and Hospital and they are duty bound to investigate, none of it precludes private prosecution at the end of their investigation but approaching a Solicitor prior to an official complaint has an effect on how they proceed.

Dreadful to hear about your step MIL and so worrying that even with a caring, attentive family people continue to fall through the net.
 

Benrese

Registered User
Apr 12, 2014
185
Lancashire
Oh thanks so much for looking this up! I've saved it and saved the link too. This will be a very helpful guide. Although there is an inquest, we most certainly want our thoughts and experience logged as well.

Thanks again!

Had a quick 'google' and found this on claims.co.uk...




So I would deduce from the small snippet I've read, that you must make a complaint through the complaints procedure of GP and Hospital and they are duty bound to investigate, none of it precludes private prosecution at the end of their investigation but approaching a Solicitor prior to an official complaint has an effect on how they proceed.

Dreadful to hear about your step MIL and so worrying that even with a caring, attentive family people continue to fall through the net.
 

opaline

Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
182
I'm no expert but I would think you would need to make an official complaint to the hospital, don't know how it works but you may need to speak to a solicitor or CAB.
 

Havemercy

Registered User
Oct 8, 2012
127
Firstly my deep sympathy to you and your family for the dreadful time you are having. This morning I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 (think it was called You and Yours) and it was about families having legal representation at a Coroner's inquest. This may be especially important if there may be issues of neglect or medical mismanagement. Would it be worthwhile contacting a solicitor with experience of this type of thing? Quite often solicitors will see you for a small fee initially in any event and then perhaps take it from there. You should be able to "Listen Again" on the BBC I Player.

Also there is an organisation called HEALTHWATCH who will, I'm told, support families in such situations. They do gave a website. Best wishes and good luck.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,607
Chester
Benrese - very brave of you to take this course of action.

I didn't realise until crisis hit the full reality of dementia, but I had phoned my mum's Dr over 5 years before hand!

Mum was in hospital for a week and she was send home in a taxi aged 81 with no check on home circumstances and having refused to provide next of kin details.

Aged 83 she had a forced entry by police as hadn't been seen, 3 weeks later I discovered full extent of crisis and police told me she said she was happy where she was and so they had to leave her in squalor of her own choosing (no electric, every room waist deep in mouse riddled newspapers, ceilings fallen in rotten food everywhere). I didn't visit as she wouldn't let me in for over 10 years and naively I assumed it was just the untidiness I had grown up in and 200 miles away - she visited me regularly and appeared OK but I realise now was an act she could manage for a few days.

Hospitals, police and SS have responsibilities and need to understand 'I'm OK' said by someone with dementia means anything but.

I meant to complain to police, but so much time taken sorting things out and looking after mum I let it pass and 12 months on realistically too late.

Good luck and thank you for taking on something I didn't. If only one person changes their approach it will have been worth it for the next dementia sufferer they deal with.
 

Benrese

Registered User
Apr 12, 2014
185
Lancashire
A tremendous thank you to all!!

I am awaiting contact numbers today, and also-Sister in Law will be sending me the family contact for the coroner. Sister in law doesn't want to pursue anything, and I can really understand her feelings. She is already overwhelmed enough and just wants things to go away. And that's OK. I am going to take this and run with it, that way they can focus their efforts in other places.

I feel very strongly about following through on this. I would want someone to do so for me, in the horrible event such things would befall me.

I will keep you posted!

If there is anything else you think could be helpful, please do let me know. I will be very appreciative to keep learning.

Thanks again to all!
 

bemused1

Registered User
Mar 4, 2012
3,402
Well done benrese fight on. Will anticipate hearing more.

Sent from my Hudl HT7S3 using Talking Point mobile app