Grandmother, 80, dies in hospital after car crashes into tree, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:26 07 February 2018

Avon Coroner's Court.

Avon Coroner's Court.

Archant

A Weston-super-Mare grandmother died after the car her husband was driving crashed into a tree, an inquest was told.

Mary Browning showed no signs of a serious head injury when the car she was a passenger in hit a tree in Clarence Grove Road at 15mph – but she died at Southmead Hospital five days later.

The 80-year-old’s husband Nigel was driving the couple home on June 7 at 9.55am when the crash happened.

An inquest held on January 31 was told Mr Browning’s foot was stuck on the accelerator, which caused him to drive the car across the road and into a tree.

Witness Margaret Dodds told Avon Coroners Court said it occurred on a ‘quiet residential road’ while she was waiting outside her house for a lift.

She saw the red car emerge and crash into the tree but could not see who was inside.

Mrs Browning was rushed to Weston General Hospital’s A&E when she began complaining about chest pains.

Doctors carried out a chest scan, which showed she had a fractured sternum, but found there was no need to complete a neurological examination as Mrs Browning insisted on a number of occasions she had not hit her head.

Dr Noreen Grant, who cared for Mrs Browning at the hospital, told there court the pensioner was ‘chatty’ and ‘lucid’, making it ‘very clear’ she felt no pain or discomfort in her head. She was discharged the same day.

However, Mrs Browning went to bed early, complaining of a headache but was unresponsive the next morning when her husband tried to wake her.

She was rushed to Bristol’s Southmead Hospital where a head scan showed she had a bleed on the right side of her brain.

Dr Ishita Gupta said the bleed was ‘inoperable’ and Mrs Browning was made comfortable before dying on June 13.

Assistant coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said: “This is very tragic that such a minor road traffic collision had such tragic consequences for Mrs Browning and her family.

“Even if a scan of the brain had been carried out after the accident I do not think the outcome would have been any different.

“The evidence suggests she did not strike her head but acceleration and deceleration could be enough to cause the bleed.”

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