Granddad fell from ‘broken’ Romford hospital trolley - inquest verdict

Edwin Barker with his daughter, Christina Yems

Edwin Barker with his daughter, Christina Yems - Credit: Archant

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.

The inquest, held at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, Queens Road, Walthamstow, on Thursday of last week, 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, had called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital.

The inquest was told that, on being admitted, he was placed on a hospital trolley. But when he tried to sit up, the side rail collapsed and Mr Barker fell to the floor.


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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.

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She returned home with her mother, Aileen, and received a call at 11pm, saying that her father, who medics discovered had not had a stroke, could not have an operation to relieve the bleeding on his brain due to his deteriorating health and age.

She was told he was believed to be unresponsive.

Matron Mary Feeney-Chirgwin was questioned on the trolley equipment, and coroner Jacqueline Devonish gave her seven days to investigate who was responsible for reporting the problem so she can consider reporting it to the Health Secretary.

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

Mr Barker’s 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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