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Pensioner who fell at Stafford's Maple Court care home died accidentally, coroner rules

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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A PENSIONER fell after trying to steady herself on a “rickety” table hours after going into a Stafford residential home for respite care, an inquest heard today.

Coralie Netherwood, 92, who was able to walk short distances with an aid, fell in her room at Maple Court care home on April 17 after getting up to go to the toilet.

 An inquest in Cannock heard she was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire where medics treated a cut on her leg before sending her back to the home in Rotherwood Drive.

The next day she began to suffer chest pain. She was seen by her GP, who suspected she might have fractured her breast bone, and prescribed pain relief. A few days later stronger pain killers were prescribed.

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But on April 17 Mrs Netherwood suddenly collapsed. She was taken to Stafford Hospital but pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

Dr Paul Hiley, consultant histopathologist for Mid Staffordshire, gave the cause of death as a pulmonary embolism with multiple rib fractures being contributing factors.

Mrs Netherwood’s sons Tim and John told the inquest they were concerned about a table in their mother’s room, which was used for going over the bed.

They said: “It was rickety. You couldn’t put a cup of tea on it. In the end we moved it out.”

They also raised concerns about the alarms as they said on one occasion their mother’s alarm had not been working at all.

Julie Anderson, care home manager at Maple Court, said: “We use the tables throughout the home for residents to use while in bed. They will hold a small amount of weight but not a person. If that particular table had been in need of repair, if highlighted it would have been reported to the maintenance man. I am not aware of anything. The maintenance man also does room checks on a weekly basis.

“The alarms are checked weekly by the maintenance man and the alarm company comes out every six months. If a problem is highlighted then we could call the company out.”

Staffordshire South coroner Andrew Haigh recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He added: “I do not feel it is appropriate for me to make a report to the home. If there are any issues with the tables it is for Mrs Anderson having attended the inquest to look at.”

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