Coroner rules out neglect by home after dad’s death
PUBLISHED: 11:45 10 June 2011 | UPDATED: 11:53 10 June 2011
A DAUGHTER who alleged neglect and abuse at a Weston care home after her ‘brave’ 91-year-old father died has been left ‘disappointed’ after a coroner rejected her claims.
An inquest was held last week into the death of Anthony Fallone, who moved from Scotland to Madeira Lodge residential home in October 2009 to be closer to his family.
Mr Fallone, whose daughter Lynne Torsteinsen lives in Wick St Lawrence, had been at the home, in Birnbeck Road, just six weeks before his health took a turn for the worse.
He had severe bed sores and after being admitted to Weston General Hospital on November 15, 2009, a scan revealed he had a dislocation of the spine at the top of his neck. He died on November 24.
His family thought the injury may have happened at the care home but gone unreported.
Mrs Torsteinsen, who also raised concerns about her father’s treatment in Weston General Hospital as he was not given a neck collar and was ‘unnecessarily’ moved to a ward in Cheddar shortly before his death, said her father had been doing well at the beginning of his stay at the care home, but noticed he soon became withdrawn.
When she visited him on November 15, shortly before he was taken by ambulance to hospital, she said staff dealing with an emergency had left her father in a poor condition.
The Snowdrop Close resident said: “His room was an absolute shambles, his bed wasn’t made, he had sputum on his pyjamas, he was not shaved, not washed and the table was covered in a sticky goo from the medicine.
“He saw me and he just started to cry – he was very distressed.
“I cried with him and I was angry that he hadn’t had any attention.
“He was in his chair and he didn’t even have his buzzer within reach.”
However, at a hearing held at Flax Bourton Coroners Court on June 2, the assistant deputy coroner, Terry Moore, and two other doctors, said there was ‘no evidence’ of neglect.
Speaking at the hearing, the care home manager, Christine Rich, said: “I can categorically say that if he had had a fall I would have known about it.
“I trust my staff and it would have been documented and brought to my attention.
“Mr Fallone’s bed had not yet been changed as we were dealing with an emergency, but staff said he had been washed.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Moore said the spinal injury had probably happened in Scotland after he had a fall at his home earlier in the year.
Pathologist Tim Moss said this could have progressively worsened and due to the struggle he had with eating, linked to a pre-existing condition, the lack of nutrition would have made his bed sores worse. He also had pneumonia.
Speaking after the inquest Mrs Torsteinsen said: “I am disappointed and let down. I feel that justice hasn’t been done for my brave father.”