Pensioner, 95, died after fall from ladder

A FIT and healthy 95-year-old Seaford resident who fell from a ladder died several days after being discharged from hospital.

Ian Mackenzie Hay had been attempting to get a mattress out of the loft when he fell.

The 95-year-old’s nephew, Alexander Mackenzie Hay, had witnessed the incident and an inquest into the older man’s death at Eastbourne Magistrates Court last Thursday (June 7), heard the ladder had collapsed under him.

He was taken to Eastbourne DGH on January 2 this year where he had an initial assessment and X-rays but did not have a CT scan which could have picked up any bleeding that he had had around his brain.

Dr Gabor Xantos, a trust Senior House Officer, said guidelines were in place for him to follow regarding whether a CT scan should be given and that he had persuaded Mr Hay to stay overnight for observation.

Coroner Alan Craze said he thought even if Mr Hay had had a CT scan the outcome would not have been different.

Mr Hay’s nephew said if his uncle had needed surgery following a CT scan he would not have agreed to any and added that his uncle had always had praise for the DGH.

The inquest heard Mr Hay - who was described as fit and independent for his age - was discharged the next day, visited by his Doctor Shan Palit two days later and had been fully alert and conscious at that point. After learning of his death a report by the GP said they regretted not recognising he had a subdural hematoma (blood on the surface of the brain) and would have referred him for a scan if they had known.

Neighbour Peter Cox last saw Mr Hay on Saturday January 7 and contacted police days later when he became concerned for his fellow resident’s welfare.

Police attended on January 10 and were able to enter the property through a side door and found him dead in the bathroom.

A post mortem gave the cause of death as a bleeding around the brain with re-bleeding.

Mr Craze recorded a verdict of accidental death.

* After the inquest Mr Hay’s nephew described his uncle as having had ‘quite a colourful life’ and said he had been a successful amateur motorcyclist who had gained two silver replicas from the Isle of Man TT and had been a lieutenant colonel during his war service.