Death of pensioner after avoidable safety failings

After the death of an 85 year old pensioner at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton the Heath and Safety Executive, Sussex Police, the NHS and the Care Quality Commission are all investigating.

At the opening of an inquest into Joan Blaber’s death, the police announced that 75 people had already been interviewed about the incident.

According to an account from someone interviewed, she drank bleach.  It was in a drinks jug near to her hospital bed, where she had been receiving treatment after suffering a stroke in August and treatment for leg ulcers.

National papers have reported that a union source has claimed a member of the hospital’s staff mistook the liquid for orange and poured a glass for Blaber. She subsequently suffered a heart attack and died six days later.

A pathology test has been undertaken and the coroner is yet to announce the official cause of death.

In a statement, Blaber’s family said:

“It is hoped the inquest will lead to a thorough investigation into the circumstances of what happened, and an explanation as to how such a tragic mistake can have occurred in modern-day healthcare, which the family believe resulted in Joan’s premature death.”

Detective Inspector Julie Wakeford, of Sussex Police, said that ten people from the ward that Blaber was located on were still to be questioned.

She said:

“We have been making contact with a number of staff at the hospital – 75 so far.”