THE distraught family of a grandmother who died after suffering horrific pressure sores in a Sheffield care home said today the tragedy must never be repeated.
Doreen Betts’s family spoke out after reaching an out-of-court compensation settlement with the home - which had ignored her condition for three months.
Doreen, aged 78, a mum of two and grandmother of one, died from blood poisoning due to infected sores on her feet.
The sores had become so severe her skin had worn through to the bone.
Three months beforehand staff at Kersal Mount Nursing Home on Manchester Road in Broomhill, where Doreen lived, had been advised by her GP to seek expert advice on how to manage the sores - but no visit was arranged.
Doreen’s condition deteriorated so badly she was finally admitted to hospital, where she died on May 9, 2009.
Now, nearly two years later, her devastated family is to be awarded compensation.
But her son Stephen, from Richmond, Sheffield, said no amount of money would make up for the suffering his mum had endured.
“It has never been about the money,” he said.
“I have never wanted a penny - I just wanted to make sure people knew what had been going on there and to ensure no-one else would have to go through the pain my mum did. Something like this must never happen again.”
Stephen added: “It was heartbreaking sitting in the inquest listening to all she had through.
“She never complained, though God knows what pain she was in. You don’t deserve that when you get to that age, when you’re supposed to be in a place which is caring for you.”
Kersal Mount is now called The Laurels and The Limes, and is still run by Chesterfield-based Hill Care which managed the home before its change of name.
Stephen added: “You put your loved ones in a place to be looked after, and that just didn’t happen. There is a chance she could still be here today if she had received the right treatment.
“Nothing can bring her back - nor can it alleviate any of the horrendous pain and discomfort she went through in those final weeks.
“But we want to ensure others do not suffer as my mother did.”
Sarah Rowland, a medical law specialist at Irwin Mitchell who helped the family secure an undisclosed compensation settlement, added: “Had the nursing home acted with the proper level of care and attention, Mrs Betts would not have died in such a painful manner.
“Kersal Mount was given a clear recommendation regarding Mrs Betts’ condition by her GP, and they simply did not act upon it. That shows a blatant disregard for her wellbeing.
“This case is not about the money - our clients wanted answers and wanted to know what went wrong in their mother’s case, so they could be assured the same thing cannot happen to anyone else.
“This case highlighted serious failings in the care Mrs Betts received and we hope now the nursing home has admitted its mistakes it will learn important lessons to prevent the same mistakes being made in the future.”
No-one at The Laurels and The Limes was available to comment when contacted by The Star.
The Sheffield inquest six months after Doreen’s death found things had “not been done that should have been done” in terms of her care.
Pathologist Dr Nicolas Tiffin, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said the sores on her left foot were the worst grade they could be, and penetrated so deeply they reached the bone.
He added that, on balance, Doreen would not have died at that time if she had not been suffering the infection.
The inquest also heard she was taken to hospital only after her daughter Joanne Thompson visited the home and saw her mother was very unwell. She told staff - who had been waiting for an out-of-hours GP - to dial 999 instead.
With hospital treatment the pressure sores started to improve, but Doreen was also suffering severe dehydration and renal failure and died. The cause of death was sepsis - an infection of the blood due to pressure sores.