A Bucks woman died following a fall in hospital days after an operation that resulted in her suffering “multiple strokes”, an inquest heard this week.
Joyce Shephard died aged 78 at Wycombe General Hospital on October 16, the day after she fell over in the hospital while unattended.
Ms Shephard, who lived in Almond Road in Burnham, had undergone surgery at Wexham Park Hospital on October 14 after she suffered a heart attack a few weeks earlier.
During an inquest into her death, Beaconsfield Coroners Court heard how Ms Shephard was slurring her words following the operation and was taken by ambulance to Wycombe General less than 24 hours after she was released from Wexham Park.
Within four hours of arriving at Wycombe General Ms Shephard collapsed while walking around the ward unattended and badly damaged her head, suffering “seizure-like” episodes. She died the following day.
Ms Shephard’s family have raised concerns with Wexham Park over the procedure she received.
Reading out a statement from Ms Shepard’s son Simon Johnson, coroner Crispin Butler revealed that following her surgery at Wexham Park Hospital, there was no member of staff with Ms Shephard when he came to pick her up.
The court also heard how Ms Shephard was slurring her words when her son came to collect her from the hospital. When this had not improved the following day, he called an ambulance.
According to Mr Johnson’s statement, paramedics told him she had suffered “multiple strokes”, which were “likely” to have been caused by the heart procedure the day before.
Considering the evidence before him, Mr Butler read out a statement from Dr Navin Chandra, of Wexham Park Hospital.
He said: “I was pleased with both the procedure and her progress on the ward. We had no suspicion of a stroke.
“We do a number of checks before and after the procedure. There didn’t seem to be any clinical signs of slurred speech.”
“Mini strokes can be a side effect of the procedure.
On Ms Shephard being left on her own when she was discharged, Dr Chandra apologised.
He added: “I was disappointed to hear she was left unattended at the entrance. I apologise for this happening on this occasion.
“We now make sure a relative is present in reception before discharge.”
Later in the hearing, the court heard how at Wycombe General Hospital Ms Shepard was seen “stumbling” around a corridor before she fell.
A porter who was nearby noticed Ms Shephard struggling, but as he went over to help her she fell backwards, hitting her head on the floor and suffering an intercranial haemorrhage.
Concluding, coroner Mr Butler said: “Ultimately there’s an accidental traumatic event, the fall, with the impact sustained.
“The ongoing concerns the family have with Wexham Park Hospital are matters they can continue to take up following this inquest.”
Mr Butler ruled that Ms Shephard’s death was accidental, and a result of the severe bleeding on the brain sustained in the fall.