OAP died after falling six times while in hospital

editorial image

Hospital bosses in South Tyneside have been slammed after an elderly patient suffered six falls in 23 days while in their care.

Jarrow pensioner Thomas Brown broke his hip in one accident at South Tyneside District Hospital - an injury which led to his death.

South Tyneside District Hospital.

South Tyneside District Hospital.

Mr Brown’s family say the former Merchant Navy shipwright was fully independent until he was admitted to the hospital on February 4, 2015 after becoming confused at home following a fall.

His family hoped the 83-year-old would be safe, but - starting on February 4 - he suffered a series of falls, one of which resulted in a broken hip on February 27.

He underwent surgery the next day but suffered a sixth fall the following day and died two weeks later - on March 14 - after developing urinary sepsis.

Hospital bosses, who have apologised for the failings and say they have taken action to improve standards, have reached an out of court settlement with Mr Brown’s family.

Daughter, Kaye Millward, 41, said: “I want people to know how South Tyneside Hospital let my father down. The fact that he still suffered another fall the day after his operation says it all.

“There is no way I’d let any other members of my family go there again. They’ve admitted being at fault for my father’s death and other people need to know what happened. It is disgraceful.”

Medical negligence solicitor Nasreen Khan, of specialists Hudgell Solicitors, led the legal case against South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: “South Tyneside Hospital failed to follow basic standards of care for Mr Brown upon his admission and these failings ultimately led to his death following the fall which caused him to suffer a broken hip.”

The Trust admitted it had failed to correctly assess Mr Brown’s risk of falls on admission to hospital, leading to a failure to class him as a ‘high risk’.

It also admitted Mr Brown’s death can be attributed to the fall, without which he would not have required surgery and developed sepsis and subsequently died.

Dr Bob Brown, The Trust’s director of quality and transformation, said: “We understand that this has been a very difficult time for Mr Brown’s family. We have accepted and are very sorry that a number of fundamental aspects of his care did not meet our high expectations.

“In response to this and the concerns raised by his family, we have taken action to improve our standards of falls risk assessment and prevention, using this experience to inform staff training and continuing improvement work”.