Search

Third family raises fears about hospital care after 'wonderful' grandmother's death

Lucy Wheatley, the daughter of Sheila Coley who died after a fall at the West Suffolk Hospital  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Lucy Wheatley, the daughter of Sheila Coley who died after a fall at the West Suffolk Hospital Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

The daughter of a grandmother-of-two has revealed the toll her untimely death had on the family amid growing criticism of a Suffolk hospital's handling of patient safety concerns.

Sheila and her daughter Lucy Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYSheila and her daughter Lucy Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Lucy Wheatley, whose mother Sheila Coley died after a fall at the West Suffolk Hospital in 2017, said she wanted to speak out about the effect the ordeal had on her family, after a watchdog raised fresh concerns about patient safety at the trust.

The 48-year-old, from Thetford, received a settlement and apology from the trust over her mother's care - but said recent news reports about the hospital's so-called 'witch-hunt' for a whistleblower had encouraged her to speak out and get back in touch with her solicitors.

Mrs Coley, who was 79, fell out of bed and broke her hip on what an inquest heard was an "understaffed" ward, and died just two weeks after she was admitted.

MORE: NHS boss apologises for failings in care at hospital

"I just want to get across that my mum went into hospital and ended up dying of something completely unrelated to what she went in for," said Mrs Wheatley.

"When families suffer this sort of loss there's collateral damage - my father isn't the same man and has an innate fear of hospitals.

Sheila Coley, 79, from Thetford, died at West Suffolk Hospital in July 8, 2017. At the inquest into her death at Norfolk Coroners Court on Monday (December 10), her daughter, Lucy Wheatley, said: “I cannot help but think that the staff did not provide my mother with sufficient level of care she needed.”Sheila Coley, 79, from Thetford, died at West Suffolk Hospital in July 8, 2017. At the inquest into her death at Norfolk Coroners Court on Monday (December 10), her daughter, Lucy Wheatley, said: “I cannot help but think that the staff did not provide my mother with sufficient level of care she needed.”

"He's a completely different person, he used to be outgoing, now he is very sad all the time.

She added: "Seeing similar things happening to other families breaks my heart.

"For us, we will live with this until the day we die."

Since Mrs Coley's death, the hospital has introduced additional checks when a patient arrives on a ward, alongside extra training for staff.

Sheila with her grandson Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYSheila with her grandson Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

MORE: Families share 'worrying accounts' of hospital care in wake of mum's death

An inquest into Mrs Coley's death, at Norfolk Coroner's Court in December 2018, heard she was taken to hospital, feeling confused, on June 21, 2017. She was given diazepam to help her calm down.

At 1am, Mrs Coley was taken from A&E to a ward, where there was a short verbal handover.

The nurse in charge said she was not told Mrs Coley was confused or had been given diazepam.

The inquest heard the ward was short-staffed and none of the nurses had the time to look at patients' records.

Lucy Wheatley, the daughter of Sheila Coley who died after a fall at the West Suffolk Hospital   Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDLucy Wheatley, the daughter of Sheila Coley who died after a fall at the West Suffolk Hospital Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Overnight, Mrs Coley suffered a fall, which required an operation. She initially recovered well - but her condition deteriorated and she developed a chest infection, dying on July 8.

Area coroner Jacqueline Lake expressed concern about communication from the trust about action taken after Mrs Coley's death, concluding the 79-year-old died as a result of her injury.

How did the trust respond?

Bosses repeated their apology to Mrs Coley's family over the incident, adding: "We'd like to reiterate our sincere and heartfelt apologies to Mrs Coley's family.

Mrs Wheatley revealed the toll her mother's death took on her family  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMrs Wheatley revealed the toll her mother's death took on her family Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

"It was our duty to make sure we learned from what happened, and to implement that learning across the trust.

"We have increased the level of checks required for patients when they arrive in a ward, such as their need for bed side-rails or other equipment to help prevent falls.

"We have also carried out extensive additional training with staff on the ward.

The spokesman added: "We do not underestimate the impact this very sad incident has had, and will continue to have, on Mrs Coley's family and we continue to offer them our deepest sympathies."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press