Grandmother given no food or drink for four days, claim


A GRIEVING daughter says staff at a care home neglected her sick mother by not giving her sufficient food or drink in the days before her death.

Great grandmother Ivy Brown, aged 75, a resident at Heeley Bank Care Home, died of kidney failure five days after being admitted as an emergency patient to the Northern General Hospital.

The council admits to ‘shortfalls in the standard of care’ received by Mrs Brown, a former midwife at the Jessop Hospital, including her not being fed properly, and that investigations after her death could have been more thorough.

But officials insist there is no evidence Mrs Brown was left without food and water.

Ivy’s daughter Beverley Hamilton Di Luci, aged 43, said she spoke to a nurse who looked after her mother and admitted she had not been fed.

Beverley said she also saw notes kept at the home, which did not include any details of Mrs Brown receiving food or water in the last four days before she was rushed to hospital by ambulance.

A coroner ruled that an inquest was not needed into death of Mrs Brown - who had suffered strokes before being admitted to Heeley Bank, and had diabetes and Alzheimer’s. It was decided the former Jessop Hospital midwife died of natural causes resulting from her illnesses.

Beverley has spent the past four years pursuing the council for an apology. Now the authority has admitted in a letter to Beverley that it neglected Mrs Brown, offered £700 in compensation and said ‘important lessons have been learned’.

But Beverley, aged 43, who works in the travel industry and lives in Heeley, said: “They failed in their duty of care to my mother. I still want them to take full responsibility and feel they should also cover the cost of the funeral. “My mother’s cause of death was kidney failure yet she hadn’t had any problems with them before.

“On the day she was admitted to hospital, I was called to the home by staff who told me my mother was very ill. When I got there, she was clearly very sick and I screamed at the staff to call an ambulance.”

She added: “I spoke to a nurse who said my mother had not eaten anything and in her records by her bed there was no record of her being given any food and drink for four days. When I saw the details, I should have called the police.

“At the hospital, they had to give my mother five litres of fluid because she was so dehydrated. A doctor took me into a room and said it was unlikely she would survive - and she died five days later.”

In a letter to Beverley, Richard Webb, Sheffield Council’s executive director of community services, revealed an internal investigation by council officials ‘found it was likely that abuse had occurred in the category of neglect’.

Mr Webb said that Mrs Brown was not fed properly, as she had been unable to swallow and, as a result, had lost weight. He said there had been ‘failure to administer a peg feed’ - where a patient is fed through a tube directly into their stomach.

But he added: “Records from the care home have been scrutinised and there is no evidence she was left without food or water”.

Mr Webb said the nurse who spoke to Beverley when her mother was admitted to hospital ‘was never questioned due to her being on sick leave and then resigning from her post’.

He also admitted ‘there may have been a problem with the practise of the manager and the nurse which remain unaddressed’. Although both have since left, he said ‘an investigation into the individuals could have been made’.

Mr Webb told The Star: “I am sincerely sorry for the shortfalls in the standard of care given to Mrs Brown, as I have expressed in my letter to Miss Hamilton Di Luci. Important lessons have been learned as a result of this case.”