Coroner told pressure sores death could not have been prevented

THE DAUGHTERS of a 90-year-old who died from pressure sores have said the specialists at Eastbourne DGH should have been called sooner.

Mabel Joyce Pettit, of The Shires Residential Home in Princes Road, Eastbourne, died at Eastbourne DGH on February 23, 2010 and an inquest into her death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon (January 7).

Mrs Pettit was admitted to hospital after suffering a falling from a chair in the dining room of her home on January 15.

She needed an operation on her fractured hip but her long stay in hospital following the operation and her immobility caused a pressure sore which then became infected and led to her death.

Alison Munroe, one of the nurses on Seaford 3 Ward who was responsible for Mrs Pettit’s care, described her as underweight, malnourished and frail.

Mrs Pettit also suffered from dementia and would refuse to eat and drink at times.

She was assessed as being at high risk of pressure sores due to her weight and she was turned regularly to stop sores developing and put on a special mattress.

However, the tissue viability nurse who specialises in pressure sores was not able to see Mrs Pettit until her sores had worsened.

The tissue nurse for Eastbourne was off sick at the time meaning the nurse from Hastings’ Conquest Hospital had to cover which lead to a delay.

Chris Tait, tissue viability nurse from The Conquest, said, “The nurses were giving the appropriate care and the fact she was on an air mattress was good.

“The nurses had done what they could but this couldn’t have been prevented.”

She told coroner Alan Craze that she did not believe the outcome would have been any different if she had of been called earlier.

Janet Diplock, Mrs Pettit’s daughter, said, “The doctor told me that in this day and age bed sores should not happen and we could put in a complaint.”

Both Ms Diplock and her sister Gillian Haffenden said they believed the outcome may have been different if their mother had of been seen by the tissue viability nurse earlier.

Alan Craze said he had considered a verdict of natural causes contributed to by neglect, but was satisfied, after hearing evidence from the tissue nurses, that the outcome would not have been different.

Mr Craze recorded a narrative verdict of hospital acquired grade four pressure sore.