Death of Hainault grandfather who fell from ‘broken’ hospital trolley ruled as natural causes

08:00 11 February 2013

Edwin Barker with his daughter, Christina Yems

Edwin Barker with his daughter, Christina Yems


An 81-year-old grandfather who fell from a “broken” hospital trolley died of “natural causes”, a coroner has ruled.

Edwin Barker, of Brocket Way, Hainault, died less than 24 hours after being admitted to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, on January 31, as a suspected stroke victim after falling at home.

The inquest, held at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, Queens Road, Walthamstow on Thursday, heard the retired school caretaker died the following day from subdural haematoma - blood on the brain.

After falling out of bed twice and experiencing weakness down his left side, his daughter, Jane Barker, called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital.

On being admitted, he was placed on a hospital trolley and on trying to sit up, the side rail collapsed and Mr Barker fell to the floor.

The inquest heard that he was helped back on to the broken trolley, despite complaints from the family.

After waiting for “four hours”, Ms Barker believed the care her father had received “was not good enough” and complained to staff, and he was later seen to.

On returning home with her mother, Aileen, who needed to take essential medication, she received a call at 11pm, saying her father was inoperable due to his deteriorating health and age, and was believed to be unresponsive.

Matron Feeny was questioned on the trolley equipment, and coroner Jacqueline Devonish gave her seven days to investigate the responsibility for reporting the problem so she can consider reporting the problem to the secretary of state.

The coroner recorded a verdict of natural causes, due to “strong medical evidence”.

Daughter Christina Yems, of Clacton-on-Sea, added: “If my father hadn’t fallen off that broken trolley, he would have been with us a little longer and died with dignity at home.

“My dad was always a strong, independent man and worked all his life. He loved to tend to his garden and he had his own allotment.”

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