An older woman living with dementia in Sydney was left covered in severe bruising after suffering, what her family was told, a fall in hospital. The woman was admitted to Hornsby Hospital after experiencing dizzy spells and a fall at home.
Known as Mrs B, the 83 year old’s family were shocked when she was discharged to a private respite home, still wearing a hospital gown and with congealed blood in her hair. When her daughter came to visit her, she was shocked to find her covered in bruises and with two black eyes.
New information has emerged, suggesting that Mrs B’s injuries may not in fact be the result of a fall.
Reports from two separate whistleblowers have said that her injuries have not come from a fall alone. One whistleblower has alleged that Mrs B was restrained when she walked towards the lifts in the hospital and was pushed and dragged back towards her bed.
A second has claimed that police didn’t check security cameras or talk to hospital staff when initially investigating how the woman living with dementia was hurt.
Speaking to 7News, Lorraine Long from Medical Error Action Group has questioned why it has taken whistleblowers speaking up to spark any real action on the case.
“I believe they’re all the hallmarks of an assault,” she said, speaking of the horrific injuries the 83 year old has sustained.
In an interview yesterday with Ray Hadley on his 2GB morning radio show, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones said that police had indeed not requested the CCTV footage.
“For what it’s worth, Ray, the information was that the injuries were consistent with a fall,” he said.
“At that point in time that’s what we had, now that’s all changed this morning of course.”
Following the whistleblower reports, NSW Police have reopened the investigation into how she sustained such severe injuries and bruising to her face, neck and arms. The HCCC, who would usually wait for a written complaint, have also opened their own investigation, after being so concerned by Mrs B’s injuries.
Injuries were extensive
“I was shocked, I couldn’t believe the state… couldn’t believe it was the same lady,” Tracey McCarthy, Mrs B’s daughter told 9News.
“It was really overwhelming and heartbreaking. She’s my mum, no one wants to see your mum like that, she’s elderly, and it was her birthday, her 83rd birthday.”
Ms McCarthy went on to say that she was “livid” that no one had been contacted about the wellbeing of her mother.
“She had no family member there to comfort her.. she would have been in a lot of pain, she wouldn’t have known what was going on,” she said.
Initially, both Hornsby Hospital and a spokesman for Northern Sydney Local Health District offered an “unreserved apology” to the family.
“Hornsby Hospital made contact with the family of this patient last week to provide an unreserved apology and to offer further support,” the spokesman said.
“An investigation into the care experienced by this patient while in hospital is underway. The investigation will include a review of the falls, communication with the family and the discharge process.
“Despite several falls prevention strategies being put in place while in hospital, the patient unfortunately suffered two falls.
“Hospital staff are undertaking a review of the processes around the discharge of the patient, and the hospital has also apologised to the family.”
Since the whistleblowers have come forward, we are yet to hear a renewed statement from Hornsby Hospital or Northern Sydney Local Health District.
Image Source: The Ray Hadley Morning Show Facebook page