Hospital criticised by 'devastated' family after patient falls four floors and dies

The “devastated” family of a woman who died after she fell four floors in a hospital where she was being treated have described her care as “woefully inadequate”.

Michaela Fowler with her husband Stephen

Mother-of-two Michaela Fowler from Wakefield, fell from a stairwell at Pinderfields Hospital in June 2018, the day after she was admitted with breathing difficulties.

The family of the 60-year-old, who suffered with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteoporosis, said she appeared to be delirious and wandered off after a nurse left her alone for a few minutes to change some bedding.

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She had been reviewed at an acute assessment unit and her delirium was thought to be a result of her COPD.

Her eldest son Daniel, 32, said: “Whilst the care my mum received during her time at Pinderfields was woefully inadequate, we are grateful for the way the trust has handled this ever since – acting sensitively, professionally and responsively throughout.”

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital in Wakefield, apologised to Michaela Fowler’s family and accepted that she should not have been left alone when she was delirious.

The trust agreed the death was avoidable and it has paid an undisclosed amount of compensation, after the family hired medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

A company called Niche Health and Social Care Consulting was also brought in to conduct an independent investigation and it found Mrs Fowler’s death could have been prevented if national guidance on the management of delirious patients was “clearer and more decisive in how interventions should be managed” and staff were “trained in the use of this guidance.”

Her husband of 32 years, Stephen Fowler said: “Losing Michaela so suddenly and tragically left the family devastated and I still think about her every day.

“Michaela and I were going to live out the rest of our years together and that’s been taken from us in the worst way. To know how much Daniel and Michael miss their mum is heartbreaking.

“I really wish I could turn back the clock and stop it from happening, but I know that isn’t possible.

“All I can hope for now is that something is learnt from this to stop other families from facing such pain and suffering.”

David Melia, Director of Nursing and Quality, at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We once again offer our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Michaela’s family and we understand that this has been a very traumatic time for all involved.

“We want to reassure the family that we have implemented all of the recommendations of the Niche Health and Social Care Consulting report so that we can provide a safer environment to patients in our care."