Doctor blamed for woman’s hospital death

The daughter of a woman who died at a heavily criticised hospital has blamed the doctor treating her for her mother’s death.

Eastbourne campaigner Gillian Mackenzie is attending a two-week inquest into the death of her mother Gladys Richards this week in Portsmouth.

During an hour-long statement at the hearing Mrs Mackenzie gave an account of details leading up to the death of her mother at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital in August 1998.

She revealed her mother had fallen about 17 times in the space of six months at the nursing home she was staying at, how her mother’s health improved when coming off an anti-depressant and how she was confused as to why her mother was placed on the painkiller diamorphine.

The court heard how Mrs Richards had been living at a nursing home in Lee-on-the-Solent for around four years. There she suffered a fall and was admitted to the Royal Haslar Hospital to have an operation.

At the inquest, Mrs Mackenzie said, “I received a call from my niece and informed my mother had been admitted to hospital and was about to undergo surgery. She had suffered a fall and was going to have an operation to address her hip at the Royal Haslar Hospital.

“I have no criticism of the Haslar hospital, the care was professional. We were well aware of the situation she was in and she may not survive the operation. Naturally when she improved we were delighted. It was decided she was going to GWMH for rehabilitation for four weeks.”

While at the Haslar, Mrs Richards was taken off the drug trazodone, which is given to treat anxiety disorders and depression.

Mrs Mackenzie said, “She was more alert than at the nursing home, she seemed to speak more coherently. My mother was eating well and looking well.”

But after arriving at GWMH, Mrs Richards suffered a second fall, and was taken back to the Haslar, where her new, right hip was put back into place.

Then she was taken back to GWMH where she suffered from haematoma - where blood leaks out into tissues.

Mrs Mackenzie said that Dr Jane Barton, whose care Mrs Richards had been under, decided not to send the 91-year-old to the Haslar.

Mrs Richards was put on to diamorphine, and was told her death was imminent. She lived for a further four days, before she died.

Mrs Mackenzie said, ‘I believe my mother could have been treated at the Haslar. In my view a consultant should have been sourced. In my opinion, Dr Barton’s pure, gross negligence, led to the death of my mother.”

The inquest continues.