Jan 10, 2018

Suspicious Aged Care Resident Death: Family Wants Answers, Seeks Inquest

Debbie Willimot died of a chest infection last Saturday – at least that’s what it says on her death certificate.

The 87 year old passed away in a privately run aged care facility in South Australia. And now her family are disputing the facility’s claims.

Sue Willimot, Debbie’s daughter, along with the rest of her family, are asking that the Coroner investigate the circumstances of their mother’s death, according to The Advertiser

Sue has submitted a number of photos exhibiting a festering wound on her late mother’s leg to the Coroner’s office. The photos show gaping wound and soiled bandages.

Sue claims that she had previously raised some concerns with the facility, which eventually led her mother being admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she was treated for pneumonia.

Another incident of poor quality care was when Sue insisted that her mother be taking to hospital when she exhibited slurred speech – it was later found that she had suffered a stroke.

Debbie, who was 87 at the time of her death, had a number of medical conditions which included diabetes.

She had moved into the aged care facility in May because she struggled to manage by herself in her Ingle Farm home.

The family have said that one of their biggest concerns was a leg wound that had been bothering Debbie since mid-year.

“After mum died and I was with her, I took off the bandage and the large wound was black, green and yellow. It was disgusting and so were the bandages,” says Sue.

“I took photos at the time and have taken them to the Coroner’s office and asked them to investigate.

“They have told me they will be seeking records from the home, from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and from the district nurse.

“We visited mum on the Thursday and again on the Friday before she died and she was fine, with no sign of respiratory problems, then suddenly we are told on the Saturday she died of a chest infection. I think there is more to it. To me the wound looked septic.”

The funeral director helping the family has told them that because of their desire for an inquest, the funeral will need to be put on hold for the investigation.

“Naturally we are upset and want to get on with the funeral, but we want to be sure about the circumstances,” says Sue.

The funeral will be delayed for 30 days as the family awaits the Coroner’s decision about further investigations.

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  1. I hear about far too many people dying in aged care facilities from a ‘chest infection’. Whilst I am aware that dysphagia can cause bacterial infections,feeding should be closely monitored and also hygiene by staff. It seems highly suspicious to me that a chest infection can take somebody ‘out’ in a matter of two days….
    I feel that much more has to be done by the Government regarding the conditions at Aged Care facilities.
    I speak from experience.
    Staff need to be looked into – compassion fatigue is commonplace.


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