Sheffield family to take legal action over hospital falls death

Janet and Joe Oliver, of Chapeltown, daughter and son-in-law of Irvine Henry Simmonds, who died from a brain injury after falling 12 times during hospital care. Picture: Andrew Roe
Janet and Joe Oliver, of Chapeltown, daughter and son-in-law of Irvine Henry Simmonds, who died from a brain injury after falling 12 times during hospital care. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A heartbroken family is to take legal action after an elderly relative died following 12 falls on NHS wards in Sheffield.

Joe Oliver, aged 60 and wife Janet, 61, of Rockwood Close, Chapeltown, are set to lodge a claim after a coroner ruled that 88-year-old Irvine Simmonds died after falls in hospital.

Daughter Janet and son-in-law Joe are ‘devastated’ by what happened when Irvine went for a hip replacement after a fall at home. He died two months later after a bleed on the brain and pneumonia on November 3 2014.

Mr Oliver said: “We’re appalled and feel incredibly let down by what can only be described as an astounding failure in the hospital’s duty of care.

“My wife and I are devastated by our loss, and our only hope is that following this verdict, sufficient action will be taken so as to ensure no other family has to go through this.”

Mr Simmonds of Ecclesfield, had previously lived independently and passed a medical three days before his injury.

After surgery in the Northern General Hospital he started to become increasingly confused and had falls in several wards and at Beech Hill Rehabilitation Centre in Norfolk Park.

Coroner Chris Dorries recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Simmonds’ falls on the wards had led to his death.

Scott Haslam, of Raleys Solicitors, is representing Mr Simmonds’ family.

He said: “I can confirm that we are pursuing a civil claim against the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust.

“In light of the Coroner’s comments and findings, we hope to bring the claim to a satisfactory conclusion soon.

A spokesperson for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust said: “Our deepest condolences are with Mr Simmonds’ family at this very sad time.

“Mr Simmonds’ condition meant that he was often very confused and despite staff putting a range of measures in place to prevent him getting out of bed unsupervised it was often difficult to stop him from doing so without physical restraints, which clearly would not have been appropriate.

“During different stages of his care these measures included ensuring Mr Simmonds was cared for in a bed close to the nurses’ station so that he could be easily monitored, bed safety rails were fitted to his bed, he was given anti-slip socks, and staff tried to ensure his nurse help buzzer was placed well within his reach.

“Despite these measures, Mr Simmonds regrettably did fall a number of times which we take very seriously.

“We have therefore undertaken a full review of his care and a number of actions have already been taken including making falls prevention guidelines and documentation clearer.”