Pensioner died after night-time fall at hospital

AN 84-YEAR-OLD man died after suffering a head injury following a fall at Eastbourne DGH.

Geoffrey Nice, who was living at Palm Court Nursing Home in Prideaux Road at the time of his death, passed away at Eastbourne DGH on July 31, 2010 and an inquest was held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon (June 16).

Coroner Alan Craze was told Mr Nice had suffered a bleed around the brain and despite an operation at Hurstwood Park to drain the blood, had died as a result of his injuries.

He had been diagnosed with dementia and became increasingly confused towards the end of his life.

The coroner was told he had a stay at Eastbourne DGH before going to live in a nursing home on May 26.

The day before he was discharged from hospital he had a fall while wandering around the ward at night. He sustained bruising around his eyes but was discharged to the nursing home.

He was then readmitted to hospital on June 12 following a suspected stroke at the nursing home and a CT scan the next day showed he had a bleed around the brain.

He was transferred to Hurstwood Park and the blood was drained but Mr Nice continued to deteriorate.

Conrad Hallin, a solicitor acting on behalf of the family, questioned witnesses and suggested the bleed had slowly progressed following the fall at the hospital on May 25.

However, Mr Craze and Mr Karunanayake, the DGH consultant involved in Mr Nice’s care, said the May 25 fall had played some part in the bleed but it was likely he had suffered another unnoticed trauma to the head at the nursing home.

Dr Karunanayake said steps, such as a low mattress and crash mat, had been taken to prevent Mr Nice from suffering from falls during his first stay in hospital.

Christine Browning, Mr Nice’s daughter, paid tribute to her father when she gave evidence at the inquest.

She said, “He was a gentleman and he never fell out with anyone. He was also very fit and a hardworking man.”

Mr Craze recorded a verdict of accidental death.