Sister of autistic Newbury Park woman who died campaigns for new law

Karen Callender Caplan, the sister of Robin Callender who died following a cardiac arrest and septic

Karen Callender Caplan, the sister of Robin Callender who died following a cardiac arrest and septicaemic shock as a result of haemorrhaging from inflammatory bowel disease - Credit: Archant

A campaigner is calling for changes in the law after she was not told about her severely autistic sister’s declining health until the day before her death.

Robin Kitt Callender

Robin Kitt Callender - Credit: Archant

Karen Callender Caplan wants to make it illegal for care providers not to inform the next-of-kin when their loved ones become unwell.

The campaign to introduce Robin’s Law comes after Ms Caplan’s sister Robin Kitt Callender, 53, collapsed at Perrymans Care Home, Abbey Road, Newbury Park, following a period of vomiting and diarrhoea on May 22, 2012.

An inquest in March this year heard she had died the following day after she was taken to A&E – two months after she was previously admitted to hospital.

Ms Caplan, 68, from Chingford, said: “She was sick for about three and a half months and the first we heard was the night before she died at about 8.30pm.


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“It was horrendous, the first thing was the shock that she died so soon after we found out.”

Concluding the inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, coroner Nadia Persaud said she believed staff at the care home were concerned about Ms Callender’s health.

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She said: “Discharging Robin from hospital on March 22 [when she was first admitted to A&E] 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.”

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

The coroner returned a verdict of death by natural causes contributed to by neglect.

“It’s appalling, but there is no statutory requirement to inform us,” said Ms Caplan. “People living in care homes don’t have the protection of Robin’s Law.”

“She was in terrible pain and suffering and her life could have been saved – at the very least we could have comforted her.

“It’s too late for my sister, she died a horrible, lonely death, but we might be able to save somebody else’s loved one.”

Find out more at casualtiesofcare.uk

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