Man died after fall from hospital bed

MELTON: A 90-year-old man died from new injuries and “complex” pre-existing medical problems – days after accidentally falling from his hospital bed, an inquest has heard.

Jack Thompson, who lived at St Andrew’s Place in Melton, near Woodbridge, had been admitted to Ipswich Hospital on March 30 this year after suffering from a string of falls at home.

An inquest into his death at Ip-City Centre yesterday heard that during his time at the hospital he was treated for a number of pre-existing medical issues as well as some newly-diagnosed problems. These included diabetes, hypoglycemia and problems with his blood pressure and heart.

While he was being treated over the subsequent weeks he had at least one “significant” fall from his bed, on April 22, which left him with a head injury.

He was eventually transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he passed away on May 17.

Dr Craig Parkinson, a consultant physician from Ipswich Hospital, gave evidence during the hearing, explaining that Mr Thompson had “complex” medical issues and was very frail.

He said: “The outstanding problem at that point (when he was admitted) was postural hypotension – blood pressure that drops profusely when moving from lying down to a standing position. He became light-headed when he stood up and I’m sure that led to some of his falls.”

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Mr Thompson’s widow Pauline asked Dr Parkinson if there was a policy for the use of cot sides that could have prevented him from “sliding out of bed” and bumping his head on the floor.

Dr Parkinson said it was a nursing decision and sometimes using cot sides could lead to patients actually falling from greater heights, but accepted that the situation was “disappointing” and hoped it would not happen again.

He added: “This was a very complex medical issue, to get the blood pressure sorted. There were so many conflicting variables. The blood pressure problem did resolve but there were other problems that were bigger.”

A post-mortem report stated the cause of death was due to acute bronchopneumonia, caused by “residual subacute subdural hematoma”.

Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Thompson died from injuries from an accidental fall that occurred against a background of significant pre-existing medical problems.

He added: “He clearly had a close, loving family around him.

“We have heard of the complexities and the frailty and the medical problems he had as well and there is really quite a mixture of complex issues going on.”

n Have you lost a loved one in difficult circumstances and want to tell us your story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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