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Family concerned at medical care given to elderly relative, inquest hears
THE family of an elderly woman who died after her bed sores became infected have expressed concerns over the medical care she received.
An inquest heard how Audrey Hannah Peace, of Perkinsville, near Chester-le-Street in County Durham, contracted septicaemia from multiple pressure sores she developed while recuperating from a fall.
She died at the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND)on March 25 last year after being placed on the controversial Liverpool End-of-Life Care Pathway, which was abolished this summer.
At Crook Coroners Court today (Monday, September 23), Dr Peter Ellis, a barrister acting on behalf of Mrs Peace's daughters, suggested the 81-year-old had been let down by delays and communication failures between medical staff.
He also questioned Dr Anthony Macklon, consultant physician at UHND, over his failure to tell Mrs Peace's family that doctors had decided not to resuscitate her if her heart stopped beating.
Mrs Peace was being looked after by district nurses and carers at Mendip House Residential Care Home in Chester-le-Street and later in her own home when the sores developed.
The pensioner was originally admitted to UHND on December 28, 2011, after fracturing her arm in a fall, but there were no beds available.
Lisa Armstrong, one of 11 district nurses who looked after Mrs Peace, said the team had done everything they could to prevent and treat the sores, including providing specialist mattresses and ensuring she changed position every two hours.
She said sores could deteriorate rapidly with poorly patients like Mrs Peace, who suffered from diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary airways disease.
Dr Macklon said Mrs Peace had stopped responding to treatment and that the family were informed of end of life path way.
He admitted failing to inform her daughters of an earlier decision not to resuscitate their mother was an 'omission'.
Crispin Oliver, deputy coroner for County Durham, indicated a narrative verdict, but adjourned for two weeks to consider the wording.