Legal threat over Skipton dad’s death after hospital fall

The family of a frail pensioner who died after falling from his hospital bed, hitting his head, are considering legal action.

Although a coroner ruled 77-year-old Peter Bradley’s death at Airedale Hospital in July two years ago was accidental, his family are now considering whether to sue over how he suffered the massive haemorrhage that killed him and what happened in the hours after the incident.

The retired building contractor, of Marina Crescent, Skipton, had been treated for a urinary infection and was fit for discharge the next day when a nurse found him on the floor between his bed and locker in a side room – with a bruise on his head.

Despite a doctor being bleeped it was four hours later before he was examined after being found unresponsive and a CT scan of his head revealed a bleed that could not be operated on, an inquest in Bradford heard this week.

Mr Bradley’s family, who were at the inquest, had prepared 22 questions for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust about his care.

Speaking at the inquest, Assistant Bradford Coroner Dr Dominic Bell said he had concerns over why Mr Bradley had not been in a low bed, despite being identified as at risk of falling following previous strokes, and why a nurse gave him a sedative for being agitated when that could have been a sign of the haemorrhage.

He said: “There was an apparent lack of understanding as to how such sedative therapy may impact on any subsequent neurological assessment.”

However, recording a verdict of accidental death, Dr Bell said he was satisfied there had been no neglect and the trust’s investigation into Mr Bradley’s death had been robust, showing a commitment to learning from adverse outcomes.

After the inquest, Mr Bradley’s daughter Heather said they had expected the inquest’s outcome but her family was considering legal action.

She said: “We still believe there were mistakes – if Airedale put him in a low bed with the sides up when he was in hospital in the April why wasn’t he in July when he had the fall?

“Any parent knows not to let their child go to sleep if they’ve bumped their head so why would my dad be given a sedative?

“It’s all right the trust saying they will learn from this and put this and that into place to make sure nothing happens like this again but why did my dad have to die first? It won't bring him back.”

Harold Hosker, interim medical director for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, told the Herald: “This was a tragic death and we send our sincere sympathies to the patient’s family for the deeply regrettable outcome.

“We have undertaken a thorough investigation of our procedures to understand why this happened and as a learning organisation we are committed to ensuring that comments from the coroner will be acted upon.”

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