Wednesday 7 December 2016

Alzheimer's sufferer died after 'push' from agitated elderly male patient

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 05/07/2016 | 07:30

Dublin City Coroner's Court was told that Maureen Lee (78), from Glebe Mount, Wicklow, suffered a fatal heart attack in Saint Vincent's Hospital
Dublin City Coroner's Court was told that Maureen Lee (78), from Glebe Mount, Wicklow, suffered a fatal heart attack in Saint Vincent's Hospital

THE inquest into the death of an elderly Alzheimer's patient was told she broke her hip after she was struck and knocked over by an agitated elderly patient who also suffered from advanced Alzheimer's disease.

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Dublin City Coroner's Court was told that Maureen Lee (78), from Glebe Mount, Wicklow, suffered a fatal heart attack in Saint Vincent's Hospital in Dublin on the day after undergoing surgery for her fractured femur.

The incident happened at Saint Colmcille's Hospital in Loughlinstown, County Dublin, on May 17 last year. Mrs Lee was a patient in St Joseph's Ward.

A nurse telephoned Mrs Lee's daughter-in-law Karen, informing her she had been "pushed" and had fallen and broken her hip. An elderly man with advanced Alzheimer's, who is now deceased, had been exhibiting "challenging" behaviour and had been assigned a one-to-one health care assistant because of his behaviour.

Health care assistant Lucky Benjamin Ibude said the agitated patient took a plastic bag containing clothes from Mrs Lee's bed and she had asked him to give it back. There was a "struggle" and she had fallen.

A middle-aged patient, Audrey Murphy, who was in an isolation room, said she saw a shouting elderly man hit Mrs Lee in the face and push her.

Dr Sher Roalkvan said he was told by the care assistant an elderly patient "hit her and she fell."

Mrs Lee's son Julian claimed the care assistant spoke to him afterwards and referred to the elderly man's agitated state, saying "a person like that should not be on that ward".

Security worker William Dunne said he got "help from a lot of staff" to get the elderly man onto his bed to be sedated.

In a narrative verdict, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said Mrs Lee had fallen as a result of the incident with the other patient which resulted in a fractured hip that required surgery. An autopsy showed Mrs Lee suffered "a fat embolism" due to the femur fracture which resulted in the fatal heart attack.

Herald

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