Accidental Death: “I am just a carer, not a nurse”

March 8, 2014

A 93 year old woman who was still mobile and independent died following a fall in the Burton Fleming care home where she was a resident.

Jessica Wall, affectionately known as ‘J’ to staff and her fellow residents at The Willows, had a history of falls and fell twice in the days before her death, an inquest in Scarborough heard last week.

At around 6.30am on the morning of November 25 she was found on the floor in the coridoor and helped back into her room, examined and checked upon every half an hour.

Care assistant, Elaine Webster, told the hearing: “She was asleep and settled and I got on with my duties.

“When I handed over to the day staff they checked her and said she needed an ambulance.

“I was asked by my employer was I able to examine for broken bones but I am just a carer, not a nurse.”

Mrs Wall, who was mobile with the help of her walking frame, was admitted to Scarborough Hospital but died on November 27.

The cause of death was given as heamothorax – a condition that arises from blood in the pleural cavity or the space between the lungs.

A post mortem revealed she also had a lung laceration and fractured ribs.

Two days prior to the fall on the 25th, she had been found on the floor of her room with the wardrobe door open.

The hearing heard she would often get dressed in the middle of the night.

The Coroner for the Eastern District of North Yorkshire, Mr Michael Oakley, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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Gerard O'Dea is the Director of Training for Dynamis. Training Advisor, Speaker, Author and Expert Witness on Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Physical Interventions, he is the European Advisor for Vistelar Conflict Management, a global programme focussing on the spectrum of human conflict.

Gerard O'Dea

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