Widow family ‘furious’ over no neglect ruling

Irene Smeaton
Irene Smeaton
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THE family of a pensioner who died in a Yorkshire hospital with wounds so infected that maggots began to breed in them say they are “furious” after a coroner found no evidence of neglect.

Irene Smeaton died at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in September 2006, seven weeks after she was admitted following a fall.

Yesterday, coroner Neil Cameron said that Mrs Smeaton died from sepsis, or blood poisoning, due to deep ulcers on her legs.

Secondary causes of the 86-year-old’s death included heart disease, pancreatitis and diabetes.

Mrs Smeaton’s family wanted action to be taken against the hospital trust as it emerged during the inquest that staff failed to change dressings on the widow’s wounds when they should have done.

They also claimed that medical staff had given Mrs Smeaton an overdose of morphine, causing her to become drowsy.

However, giving a narrative verdict at the conclusion of the inquest into Mrs Smeaton’s death yesterday, Mr Cameron said that while she showed the symptoms of “morphine toxicity”, this “did not contribute to her death.”

He said Mrs Smeaton developed pressure sores which “became ulcerated and developed into wounds which led to sepsis.”

Mr Cameron said he would also not be making a “rule 43” report, which he would be entitled to do if he thought there was a concern that other deaths would occur at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust.

Diane Grimoldby, Mrs Smeaton’s daughter, said the coroner’s verdict was “appalling” and said she believed her mother received “atrocious, neglectful care.”