Elderly man dies following Swaffham care home fall

An elderly man died from an undetected head injury after falling at his Swaffham care home, an inquest heard.

Alan Cason, a retired builder, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn on June 24, just weeks before his 90th birthday.

Staff at Westfields Care Home, in Westfield Road, found him sprawled on the toilet floor six days earlier, but he did not complain of an injury.

His family were represented at the hearing by barrister Rory Holmes, who questioned witnesses on the care Mr Cason received at the home and in hospital.

A post mortem examination showed Mr Cason, who suffered from a number of medical conditions, died from a subdural haemorrhage as a result of the fall, and his use of the blood-thinning drug Warfarin may also have contributed to the bleed.

Kirsty Gilson, a care assistant at the home, said she heard Mr Cason shouting for help and found him lying on the floor at about 6.30pm on June 16. He had grazed his shin, but he was lucid and told staff he had not banged his head, the inquest heard.

After developing a chest infection, he was admitted to the Lynn hospital on the evening of June 18 with severe vomiting and a distended abdomen.

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Dr Mahraj Syed said Mr Cason was treated for a large bowel obstruction and showed no signs of having suffered a head injury.

Mr Holmes asked why a brain scan had not been carried out and Dr Syed said there had been no apparent need for such a scan.

Consultant surgeon Jonathan Easterbrook told the inquest that tests had revealed Mr Cason was most likely suffering from colon cancer, but he was unlikely to have survived an operation.

Had the subdural haemorrhage been detected, a discussion would have taken place with surgeons at Addenbrookes Hospital, but it was highly unlikely surgery would have been recommended because of his age and poor health, the hearing was told.

Both doctors said that, in their opinion, the outcome would not have been different had the head injury been detected.

Greater Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a narrative verdict, stating the 89-year-old had died as a result of an accidental fall while he was a resident at a care home.