Seaford woman, aged 81, died of pneumonia

Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre where Mrs Farrugia died
Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre where Mrs Farrugia died

An 81-year-old woman from Seaford died from pneumonia after being admitted to hospital following a fall in her home, an inquest has heard.

Rose Farrugia passed away in Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, on July 3, 2014.

She had been admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital on June 19 following a fall in her kitchen but was transferred due to the injuries she sustained - injuries that were made more serious due to previous fractures after a road traffic collision nine years ago.

Mrs Farrugia, who was a retired tailor, lived on her own in a house in Clementine Avenue, Seaford. She had a history of poor health, including low blood pressure, appendicitis and varicose veins.

In 2005, she was involved in a serious road traffic collision in which her husband, Alfred, was killed. She, meanwhile, suffered a fracture to her neck and had metal plates and bolts inserted into her spine.

The inquest, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, November 14, heard from Mrs Farrugia’s GP, Dr Francis Nicholls, that she suffered from a lot of pain in her spine as a result of the operations and was considered for a number of other medical procedures to try and ease the situation. However, she turned most of these down after considering the side effects.

On June 19, Mrs Farrugia’s neighbours found her sitting on the floor of her kitchen surrounded by a pool of congealed blood. They had a key to her house and had let themselves in after being concerned about her welfare having not seen her that morning as usual.

They dialled 999 and paramedics arrived. Danny Attwood, ambulance technician, told the inquest how Mrs Farrugia was completely dazed and very confused. She was unable to tell them how she had ended up on the floor and was suffering from seriously low blood pressure and hypothermia.

The 81-year-old had sustained a wound to her head and was complaining of pain in her spine. Upon arrival to hospital, she had a CT scan and was found to have another fracture to her neck - something that was more likely to happen following her previous injuries.

Mrs Farrugia also had a number of blood clots causing compression to her spine. While in hospital, she had an operation to extract the clots and relieve the pressure on her chronically curved spine.

She passed away in hospital on July 3 after contracting hospital-acquired pneumonia. This was given as her cause of death, with cervical spinal cord injuries, cognitive impairment and decreased mobility given as contributing factors. Coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of accidental death.