'Woeful' lack of record-keeping failed to detect health problems before 76-year-old's death
The family of an elderly man who died after “woeful” record-keeping at a care home failed to detect health problems have said they hope his carers have learned lessons from the tragedy.
Michael Lumsden died on July 18 2016, at Highcliffe House Nursing Home in Cobbald Road, Felixstowe after suffering symptoms of constipation in the days before his death.
A post mortem examination revealed the cause of the 76-year-old’s death was a pseudo obstruction in his bowel.
At an inquest in Ipswich on Thursday, October 18, pathologist Dr Julian Orrell said Mr Lumsden’s life could have been saved if early medical intervention had taken place.
However, assistant coroner Kevin McCarthy said that had not amounted to neglect by the care home, as it could not be shown that Mr Lumsden definitively would have survived.
The directors of Highcliffe House did not comment on the inquest, but wished to expressed their condolences to Mr Lumsden’s family.
Described by his family as an avid Ipswich Town fan, Mr Lumsden had been living at the care home since September 2015.
The inquest heard evidence that the care home had not kept adequate up-to-date records of his condition.
Mr McCarthy said: “I find a woeful lack of accurate recording.
“I think there was a lot going on and a lot not going on that was woeful.
“These matters were dealt with in a CQC report in 2016 and I have some comfort, through a report in 2017, that things are improving.
“I asked Dr Orrell this morning whether medical intervention would have prevented his death.
“His words in response to me were ‘maybe’ rather than ‘would’.
“The ingredients required for neglect are not made out.
“What ought to have happened was a GP should have been called sooner.
“I cannot think any guidance or recommendations I can make will help in that direction.”
He gave a legal conclusion of natural causes.
Following the inquest, Mr Lumsden’s son Sean said: “I think it was probably what we were expecting.
“I just hope they have learned lessons from it.”
Sean Lumsden said his father had worked as a car mechanic after leaving school and had been a service manager at Baylham Garage.
He had lived in Palmcroft Road in Ipswich for most of his life and worked with dial-a-ride community transport after his retirement.
“He was very well known in the community and very well respected,” he said.