The family of a frail pensioner who died after falling out of his ward bed hitting his head, are considering legal action against hospital bosses.
Although a coroner has ruled that 77-year-old Peter Bradley’s death at Airedale Hospital in July two years ago was accidental, his grieving family are now considering whether to sue over how he suffered the haemorrhage that killed him and what happened in the hours after the incident.
The retired building contractor, of Marina Crescent, Skipton, had been treated for a urinary infection and was fit for discharge the next day when a nurse found him on the floor between his bed and locker in a side room – with a bruise on his head.
Despite a doctor being bleeped, it was four hours later before he was examined after being found unresponsive and a CT scan of his head revealed a bleed that could not be operated on.
At an inquest in Bradford yesterday, Assistant Bradford Coroner Dr Dominic Bell said he had concerns over why Mr Bradley had not been in a low bed, despite being identified as high-risk of falling, and why a nurse gave him a sedative for being agitated when that agitation could have been seen as a sign of the haemorrhage.
However, recording a verdict of accidental death, Dr Bell said he was satisfied there had been no neglect and the trust’s investigation into Mr Bradley’s death had been robust.
After the inquest, Mr Bradley’s daughter Heather said the family had expected the inquest’s outcome, but they were considering legal action.
She said: “We still believe there were mistakes. It’s all right the trust saying they will learn from this and put this and that into place to make sure nothing happens like this again, but why did my dad have to die first?”
After the hearing, Harold Hosker, interim medical director for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This was a tragic death and we send our sincere sympathies to the patient’s family for the deeply regrettable outcome.
“We have undertaken a thorough investigation of our procedures to understand why this happened and as a learning organisation we are committed to ensuring that coroner’s comments will be acted upon. We apologise for the breakdown in communication with the family.”