Coroner rules out care home fall as Canning Town pensioner’s cause of death

Jean Webb had a history of seizures and heart complaints. Picture: Linda Webb

Jean Webb had a history of seizures and heart complaints. Picture: Linda Webb - Credit: Archant

The death of a pensioner was not caused by a fall at her care home or the following operation, a coroner has said.

Jean Webb was returned to bed and spent a night with a fractured left leg following the tumble on June 10 at Summerdale Court Care Home in Butchers Road, Canning Town.

A staff member called 999 the next day and flagged up the issue with Newham Council’s safeguarding team as an issue of neglect, the court heard.

Mrs Webb died four days later, following surgery at the Royal London Hospital, Whitchapel.

Her daughter, Sandra Routledge, raised issues about the quality of care the 93-year-old received at Summerdale Court.

She said in a statement it was “inconceivable” her mother did not suffer and denied Mrs Webb would not have given staff a clear signal she was in pain.

“We realise mum was very old, and everything was a bonus, but that doesn’t mean she should die of neglect by people who were paid to care for her,” the statement says.

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An earlier fall on June 9 was not reported to managers until the following day because the wi-fi was down, meaning senior managers had been unaware, the court heard.

Area coroner Graeme Irvine said a communication breakdown could not be linked to Mrs Webb’s cause of death.

He added: “In a different set of circumstances, that breakdown in communication could potentially have fatal consequences.”

Mr Irvine praised the home’s reporting system and care plan. Summerdale Court’s report says Mrs Webb told staff she felt “fine”.

Ian Buckland, regional manager at Four Seasons Health Care which runs the home, said that based on Summerdale Court’s incident records staff acted appropriately.

He said training and procedures have been adapted with two staff undergoing disciplinary procedures over communication with the family.

Ms Routledge said in court: “Given the fact that Summerdale Court has been under special measures for a considerable length of time, I’m struggling to find where those lessons have been learnt.”

Pathologist Professor Micheal Sheaff attributed Mrs Webb’s death to heart failure, adding the fracture could have contributed, but was not a cause. The verdict was death by natural causes.