Tragedy of Sheffeld Betty’s death

Joan Wood known as Betty
Joan Wood known as Betty
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A CORONER said he hopes lessons have been learned after a former World War Two Land Girl became so malnourished she was unable to fight an infection which led to her death in hospital.

Both Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, and Hazeldene Nursing Home in Poole Road, Darnall, came under fire at a two-day Sheffield inquest for their treatment of 83-year-old Joan Wood.

Mrs Wood, known as Betty, died in April last year after contracting an infection during hip surgery.

Staff at her care home failed to contact emergency services straight away after she complained of pain shortly after being discharged from hospital in January last year.

And the inquest was told her nutritional intake plummeted after she was re-admitted to the Northern General.

Diane Fowbert, a matron at Northern General, told the court: “It is clear from records feeding her was very problematic and variable.

“I’ve looked at staffing levels and there were issues with short-term sickness absence around the time.

“It was suggested a dietician be contacted but I checked the notes and there is no record of this happening.”

Ms Fowbert said the hospital had introduced a number of policies since.

And Coroner David Urpeth said while he did not plan to write a letter to either organisation, he hoped lessons had been learned.

Recording a narrative verdict, he said: “It is clear that since this incident various steps have been taken to improve standards.

“I would like the care home to provide me with a letter that provides assurances.”

Mrs Wood, who had dementia in later life, worked at John Lewis for 25 years.

Her daughter Lori, 52, of City Road, said after the inquest: “She was a person and she had a life. I went to visit her at the home and she was independent, she laughed and talked with people. We were making plans for the Spring.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has agreed to meet Miss Wood for further discussions.