Woman died after fall from hospital bed
THE family of a woman who died after falling from her hospital bed while the bed's rail was left down have spoken of their disappointment.
An inquest heard Eileen Woodruff, 86, from Staple Hill, died after the fall at Frenchay Hospital where she was admitted for breathing difficulties.
She suffered head injuries in the fall on March 28, which led to her death.
Coroner Maria Voisin recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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Following the verdict at Flax Bourton Coroner's Court, Ms Woodruff's granddaughter Laura Knight and son-in-law Geoff White said that it was unclear why bed rails were not raised while she was receiving care.
Ms Knight told The Post: "We're pleased that the inquest has drawn a line under things and we understand that accidents do happen. But we still can't understand why, if there were bed rails, they were not up."
The inquest heard that the bed rail was not raised as staff felt there could be a greater danger in falling from the height if she had tried to climb over it.
The court heard Ms Woodruff had first been taken to hospital with a broken hip on December 29 last year. She had to return to hospital some weeks later after developing breathing problems.
Following the fall, staff at the hospital carried out a CT scan on Ms Woodruff before telling her family there was "no hope" due to the injuries she had sustained.
In her statement to the court, Ms Knight said: "We know what the injuries were but how did the injuries occur? Did she fall out of bed and who is responsible? We as a family are deeply sad and need answers to our questions."
Appearing as a witness, Doctor John Ho said there were no records showing how she fell.
Rosemary Martinau-Brown, the manager of the ward in which Ms Woodruff was being treated, said the bed rail was not raised as there was a danger of the patient trying to climb over the rail and subsequently falling from a greater height.
She said: "She was assessed as not being appropriate to have the bed rail raised."
During the hearing Ms Martinau-Brown said the hospital had improved its approach to falls since Ms Woodruff's death.
After the inquest, Ms Knight said that her grandmother couldn't have "climbed over a matchstick" in her condition.
North Bristol NHS Trust spokesman Richard Cottle said: "Preventing and reducing the number of falls is an important priority for the trust."
He said some of the actions implemented recently included improving training in falls prevention for nurses, completing falls risk assessments and learning for further preventative action when a fall takes place.
The medical director at the trust, Dr Chris Burton, added: "On behalf of the trust I would like to extend sincere condolences to Mrs Woodruff's family. We accept the coroner's verdict."