South Yorkshire home slammed for poor care of emaciated OAP

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A CORONER has launched a scathing attack on a South Yorkshire care home after an emaciated pensioner was admitted to hospital weighing less than five-and-a-half stone.

Just five weeks earlier, sprightly Molly Darby, aged 94, had walked into the privately-run home in good health.

She deteriorated so badly at The Beeches Residential Care Home in Wath that she was admitted to hospital as an emergency. Her family claimed she resembled a ‘concentration camp victim’.

Staff nurses found the mum-of-six had a chest infection, pneumonia, pressure sores, septicaemia and ear and urinary infections.

She died two-and-a-half weeks later.

Rotherham coroner Nicola Mundy said: “I find it very alarming that such a vulnerable person who relied on professionals for her care and support was presented to hospital in the way she was. The vulnerable in our society must be properly cared for on all levels and their dignity protected.

“I think Mrs Darby was not afforded the care and dignity she deserved.”

Nurse Julie Norton, who received Molly at Barnsley Hospital said: “It was quite upsetting. She was really, really frail. When I was changing her bedding with another nurse we were all quite upset and distressed.”

When matron Karen Sharpe saw Molly she contacted social services.

The Rotherham inquest heard Molly was assessed as at risk of malnutrition four months before she went into the home.

Her son Jim, 72, a retired miner, said his mother was ‘sprightly’ when she was at home in West Melton, near Rotherham. But she developed dementia and needed 24-hour care so her family put her in The Beeches in 2007.

Mr Darby said he had no reason to believe his mum wasn’t being fed, but said: “The nurse at the hospital said she had never seen anybody come in to hospital from a care home in such a bad state.”

Former Beeches manager Julie Morgan said Molly was helped with hygiene and toileting by staff but she would often refuse to eat.

Care assistant Michelle Burkinshaw said she regularly washed her, bathed her eyes and put cream on her sores.

Pathologist Dr Caroline Quincy said Molly died on August 29, 2007 from broncho-pneumonia.

The 44-bed Beeches was run at the time by the Winnie Care Group but later sold to MHA.

An inquiry in February 2008 by Rotherham Council’s social services department found the previous owners negligent by ‘omission of care’ for Molly.

Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner said: “Her basic care and medical requirements were not satisfactorily met and her decreased mobility increased her risk of developing a chest infection.

“Her nutritional status compromised her ability to cope with the effects of the chest infection, the latter of which led to her death.”

Molly’s son Ray, 68, said: “She hardly saw a doctor in 40 years before she went into that home.”

The coroner said she would write to Winnie Care to ensure they had reviewed all procedures, documentation and training.