AN elderly man died after being knocked over by a revolving door at South Tyneside District Hospital, an inquest heard.
Roderick Elliott, 73, had been to a stroke clinic at the hospital when he was knocked over and broke his thigh bone.
He was immediately treated and admitted but died six days later of acute bronchial pneumonia – a common cause of death for elderly people incapacitated by an injury.
Assistant Coroner for South Tyneside, David Mitford, told the hearing he intends to write to both the hospital trust and the door manufacturers as he was concerned that 14 other hospitals had these doors fitted and that there could be a similar incident elsewhere.
The hearing heard Mr Elliott, of Palm Avenue, South Shields, was injured after a visit to the hospital with his wife, Jean.
He had suffered strokes in 2001 and 2006, and walked with the aid of a stick.
The accident happened after the couple had attended a stroke clinic at the hospital on October 21, 2011, and had got in through the revolving doors with no problem.
However, on the way out, Mr Elliott was struck by the door on his right side and knocked to the ground. He was taken into the accident and emergency department and an x-ray revealed he had broken his femur.
Doctors operated the following day, putting a screw in his hip joint and he appeared to be making good progress after his operation.
But Rachel Thompson, nurse manager of the ward Mr Elliott was staying on, said that on October 27, 2011, he was found to be unresponsive.
A cardiac arrest call was put out and CPR was started but without success.
Pathologist, Dr Gemma Kemp, said Mr Elliott died of acute bronchial pneumonia and that he also had underlying heart and lung conditions which contributed to his death.
Derek Gifford, at the inquest to represent Boon Edam, the manufacturers of the doors, said an engineer had been unable to find anything wrong with the sensors on the doors and that they “complied with British standards” but all doors in the British market had now been fitted with an additional sensor.
He said that this particular type of door was fitted in 14 hospitals around the UK, including another one on South Tyneside’s Ingham Wing, and that a total of 120 were fitted on hospitals, airports, shopping centres, and other buildings.
Mr Gifford said that 2011 had seen 11 accidents similar to Mr Elliott’s, followed by 19 in 2012 and 15 in 2013. He said this kind of incident was “very rare”.
Mr Mitford ruled that Mr Elliott’s death had been an accident but said he was concerned that 14 other hospitals had these doors and that there could be a similar incident elsewhere.
He said he intended to write to the South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and Boon Edam to address his concerns.
Steve Jamieson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s director of corporate services, said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr Elliott’s family on their sad loss.
“The safety of our patients, visitors and staff is always our first consideration and, following the inquest, we now await the coroner’s letter before making any further decision regarding the doors.
“In the meantime, they will remain in slide mode.
“The coroner did note, however, that the doors at the hospital were operating in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended standards at the time of the tragic incident.”
n Finding: Accidental death