OAP’s death was not DRI neglect

Irene Smeaton
Irene Smeaton

A CORONER has ruled that there was no evidence of neglect in the case of a pensioner whose wounds were so infected that maggots began to breed in them.

Neil Cameron ruled that the death of Irene Smeaton, 86, in September 2006, seven weeks after she was admitted to the hospital following a fall, was due to sepsis, or blood poisoning, due to deep ulcers on her legs. Secondary causes of death included heart disease, diabetes and pancreatitis.

Mrs Smeaton’s family wanted action to be taken against the hospital trust as it emerged during the inquest that staff failed to change dressings on the widow’s wounds when they should have done.

They also claimed that medical staff had given Mrs Smeaton an overdose of morphine, causing her to become drowsy.

However, recording a narrative verdict at the conclusion of the inquest into Mrs Smeaton’s death last week, Mr Cameron said that while she showed symptoms of “morphine toxicity” this did not contribute to her death.

He said that Mrs Smeaton developed pressure sores which “became ulcerated and developed into wounds which led to sepsis”.

The coroner added that he would not be making a “Rule 43” report, which he would be entitled to do if he thought that there was a concern that other deaths would occur at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals’ Trust.

Mrs Smeaton’s daughter Diane Grimoldby said the verdict was “appalling” and she believed her mother received “atrocious, neglectful care”.