Agencies exonerated over woman's death

A MOTHER-of-three died in filthy conditions after social services, health professionals and relatives were left in an "impossible situation" when it came to providing care for her, a coroner has ruled.

When 45-year-old Angela Wright died, she was wearing the same clothes she had been wearing since her last care visit three years earlier and she was sitting in a wheelchair covered in urine and excrement at her Sheffield home.

Although her son Stephen, now 20, was able to provide her with food and drink, she refused to let him get involved in her personal hygiene.

Mrs Wright, of Totley Brook Road, had also refused care packages offered by Sheffield Council's social services department.

Concluding an inquest into her death, Sheffield coroner Christopher Dorries said all the agencies and the family were put in an "impossible situation".

"This is a tragic case and quite unique in my experience," he said.

"This condition, worsening over the years, caused Mrs Wright to feel that she could not accept treatment or care in the terms that it could be offered.

"Whatever the reality, and I suspect there were also issues of pride involved from time to time, I accept that Mrs Wright truly felt she could not accept care in the only format that our society could offer it to her.

"I am clear that very proper attempts were made to give care against enormous difficulties. I accept that social services, the district nursing service, the GP, PCT and the family were left in an impossible position."

Mr Dorries returned a narrative verdict that Mrs Wright died in October 2008, from an infection called pyelonephritis, a consequence of living with a catheter that had been unchanged for a "substantial" period.