‘Neglect’ of GPs and hospital staff contributed to autistic woman’s death

Robin Kitt Callender, 53

Robin Kitt Callender, 53 - Credit: Archant

A partially sighted severely autistic woman who died less than 24 hours after being admitted to A&E was “neglected” by medical professionals, an inquest has heard.

Robin Kitt Callender, 53, collapsed in Perrymans Care Home, Abbey Road, in Newbury Park, following a period of vomiting and diarrhoea in May 22 2012.

Her weight had dropped from 43kg to 37.2kg from March to May 23 2012 when she died.

Doctors were unable to diagnose Ms Callender’s condition despite six visits to GPs and two visits to A&E.

Concluding the inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, coroner Nadia Persaud said she believed staff at Perrymans Care Home were “concerned” about Ms Callender’s health.

She said: “Discharging Robin from hospital on March 22 to unqualified carers who were clearly concerned about her and had visited healthcare practitioners to seek help provided no effective safeguard.

“There was a gross failure to provide basic medical attention.”

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Ms Persaud added had a blood test been carried out on May 14, the results would have seen her admitted to hospital.

“The fact that Robin may not have cooperated and had a blood test was not a significant reason to defer the blood test,” she said, before adding: “It is likely her death would have been avoided.”

Earlier in the inquest, sister, Karen Caplan, said Ms Callender would “not cooperate” with doctors unless she was approached “in the correct manner”.

“If she felt threatened she would resist,” said Ms Caplan, 68, when giving evidence earlier in the three-day inquest.

A post-mortem examination gave Ms Callender’s cause of death as cardiac arrest and septicaemic shock as a result of haemorrhaging from inflammatory bowel disease.

Her family were not informed of her illness even though they usually attended medical appointments with her.

Ms Caplan was not told of her sister’s declining health until the day before her death.

Ms Persaud returned a verdict of death by natural causes contributed to by neglect.