Woman (85) died after automatic shop door accident
Published 19/06/2010 | 05:00
A frail, elderly woman died the day after she fractured her hip when automatic doors at a supermarket closed on her, an inquest has heard.
Anne Woody (85) of Dublin Road, Skerries, Co Dublin, was at the Eurospar store at Skerries Point, Skerries, with her daughter Elizabeth Kenny on the afternoon of October 31, 2009, when the tragic incident occurred.
A visibly upset Ms Kenny told an inquest into her mother's death at Dublin City Coroner's Court yesterday that she brought her mother into the supermarket and went back out to get a shopping trolley.
"When I turned around . . . I saw my mother in the frame in the doorway standing looking for me. As she stood there the doors of the shop began to close, pushing my mother down towards the ground.
"She fell to the ground as a result of this, hitting her head on a container to the right of the shop doorway," she said.
Ms Kenny rushed to her mother's help but she was unable to stand.
Mrs Woody was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital where she died 24 hours later. A post-mortem found she'd died from blood loss at the left hip fracture site.
The hip fracture in that fall was the cause of death, coroner Dr Brian Farrell said.
After viewing CCTV footage of the incident he said he was satisfied that the closing of the doors was the factor that caused Mrs Woody to fall.
Assistant manager at the Eurospar store Tony Coughlan said the doors were functioning normally on the day.
The inquest heard the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) was not informed of the accident by the gardai until 13 days later.
HSA inspector Robin Armstrong said he inspected the doors and found they were functioning correctly. The HSA also requested the owners to get the sensors tested. Tests were carried out and no faults were found.
However, the sensors were taken out for testing and were not tested with regard to the footprint in the actual door, the court heard.
Meanwhile, Mr Armstrong said he could not say what sensors were in place at the time of the incident.
"The difficulty we had is we weren't notified for 13 days. There are issues there," he said.
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death due to a fall as a result of the door closing.