Coroner’s concern over ‘neglect’ after 91-year-old man died at Wigan care home

John Pollard, Manchester West assistant coroner, who issued the notice
John Pollard, Manchester West assistant coroner, who issued the notice

A coroner has demanded answers after a 91-year-old died after he was lifted using a hoist at a Wigan care home.

John Pollard, an assistant coroner for Manchester West, ruled that neglect was a contributory factor in the death of Wycliffe Ashton Matthews, a resident at Alexandra Court care home in Howard Street, Pemberton.

An inquest into Mr Matthews’s death took place at Bolton Coroner’s Court on September 29, when Mr Pollard was told how the senior citizen was being helped to his feet using a hoist.

The court was told that on the first and second occasions, when the hoist was used, he had difficulties in standing.

And the third time he let go of the hoist and sat back in his chair, suffering “traumatic spinal cord injuries”.

Mr Pollard said that this resulted in pneumonia, which led to the pensioner’s death.

The coroner has now issued a ‘prevention of death’ notice to the owners of the Howard Street home, calling into questions various aspects of the OAP’s care.

Mr Pollard said: “During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern.

“In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken. In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you.

“During the inquest evidence was heard that the staff at the home seemed untrained or at least inadequately trained on the use of the hoist.

“The staff (also) failed to keep any, or any proper, note of the events which lead to the death. In my opinion urgent action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe that you have the power to take such action.”

Under the coroner’s notice, the home is required to respond within 56 days.

The notice was issued on October 18 but only published this week.

The deadline for responses is December 12.

The family of Mr Matthews, including two sons and a daughter, have been sent copies of the coroner’s notice, as has the Chief Coroner, Judge Mark Lucraft QC.

Mr Pollard’s notice is the second to be issued in recent weeks, highlighting misgivings about care provisions for elderly people.

Prof Jennifer Leeming, the senior coroner for Manchester West, issued a similar alarm after the death of 87-year-old Helen Cannon at her Wigan home last April.

She suffered a fractured pelvis following a fall and the coroner was unhappy with the provisions made by Eldercare, the firm which ran an emergency responder system covering the property.

Mrs Cannon was helped up using a lifting cushion but emergency responders did not request medical or paramedic assistance at the time, She had suffered internal bleeding though and died two days later.

Cuerden Developments, which runs Alexandra Court, was unavailable for comment as the Wigan Observer went to press.

The home was rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission, in a report which was published back in August 2016.

But the inspectors did consider their safety record required improvements, amid concerns over their medicine management policies.