Spalding mum, 95, died hours after release from hospital

South Lincolnshire Coroner's Court in Boston.
South Lincolnshire Coroner's Court in Boston.
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A woman of 95 died within hours of being released from hospital, an inquest heard.

Laura Morfoot was a popular resident at the Southfield House care home in Woolram Wygate, Spalding, and was returned there at 1am on August 3, 2014 after being taken to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital by ambulance the previous day complaining of abdominal pain and chest pain.

Senior carer Sharon Smith wasn’t on duty when Laura returned, but told Wednesday’s hearing in Boston: “We were a little concerned because Laura wasn’t able to weight bear. It was ambulance transport – it wasn’t like a proper ambulance – and she was just sat on a normal chair.”

Ms Smith said staff were concerned because they used a hoist for all of Laura’s transfers, adding: “We don’t know how they (the ambulance service) actually got her in that chair.”

She said the home’s notes showed staff became concerned about Laura again at 7.30pm, called an ambulance and were advised to do CPR, but unfortunately she passed away at 8.24pm.

Coroner Paul Cooper concluded Laura died of natural causes after receiving evidence from pathologist Dr Elizabeth Astall that her death was caused by heart problems, a thrombosis (blockage) of the right coronary artery and coronary heart disease, and that a bowel obstruction may have been a contributory factor.

The inquest heard Laura had long-standing heart problems.

Dr Ting Yiu Wong told the inquest he was in his first year of training when he saw Laura.

He said Laura’s abdominal pain had eased after she went to the toilet at 4pm on August 2.

When Dr Wong had a conversation with Laura at 10.15pm, he said “she denied any chest pain or shortness of breath”.

Dr Wong said, looking back with more experience, there were signs in the ECG that would suggest lateral wall ischemia (a serious heart problem) but he believed that should have been “picked up by the doctor who signed the ECG”.

He told the hearing: “I do agree, looking back at the case, that an abdominal X-ray should have been requested along with a chest X-ray.”

A & E consultant Dr R V Sant said it did not appear Laura was “in an awful lot of chest pain” and her ECGs taken by the paramedics and by the hospital were consistent with one another and appeared normal.

He said: “There’s nothing to suggest there was anything acute going on in the heart at that time.”

But the consultant said he believed doctors who saw Laura should have made an attempt to contact the care home to “try to ascertain what had been going on previously”, describing that as “a good learning point for all of us”.

• Laura’s daughter, Angela Higgs, gave a brief history of Laura’s life and said: “I could not have had a better mum.”