‘This little pendant could save your life’

Kathleen Cliff.
Kathleen Cliff.

RELATIVES of a Sheffield pensioner who died a needless death after she fell in her home today urged elderly people who have emergency alarms to make sure they wear them.

Kathleen Cliff, aged 74, who suffered from arthritis, fell over in her living room on Swanbourne Road, Sheffield Lane Top.

Although she subscribed to a service that would connect her automatically to an emergency responder, the call pendant which could have brought help at the touch of a button was hanging on a wall out of reach.

Kathleen, a retired cleaner and widow, lay on her floor all night before a neighbour raised the alarm and police broke in. She was rushed to the Northern General Hospital but the blood to her legs had been cut off as she lay on the floor and her injuries were very serious.

Doctors wanted to amputate her legs but she refused. She died in hospital a fortnight later.

Her nephew Michael Nicholls, 41, said: “My aunt was breathing and conscious - if she had the alarm she could have pressed the button and it would have saved her life.

“She fell in her living from and couldn’t get to the phone. The alarm was hung on the wall - it should have been around her neck.”

Michael, from Parson Cross, added: “If anyone has a relative or a friend who owns one of these alarm systems don’t be afraid to ask them to use it.

“Elderly people like to be independent - these devices mean they can be independent while staying safe. But if you don’t wear it, it won’t work.

“My aunt was a well-liked and respected woman who will be very much missed by a lot of a people.”

Coun Mary Lea, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for health care, said: “We would urge everyone who has been given one of these pendants to heed this heartbreaking story and to wear their pendants.

“It is deeply tragic someone like Kathleen had to die like this when there is a strong chance her life could have been saved.”

Kathleen died on December 4. An inquest into her death will be held.

n For information about automatic alarm systems call City Wide Care Alarms free on 0800 013 0980 or log on to www.sheffield.gov.uk/carealarms.