Royal Preston Hospital criticised at city inquest over lack of communication about condition of retired dinner lady Ann Miller

A grieving family has spoken out about the lack of communication from the Royal Preston Hospital when their mother was dying.

By Fiona Finch
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 7:23 am

Retired dinner lady Ann Miller,70, died in the city hospital on January 22 this year following a fall at her home.

After hearing evidence about her care Area Coroner Chris Long concluded that the cause of death was accidental and said the fall triggered a pulmonary embolism and a stroke which led to her death.

During the inquest Ann’s daughter Sharon Kirkby complained that despite repeated pleas to speak to a doctor about her mother’s condition no doctors called her.

Retired dinner lady Ann Miller who died in the Royal Preston Hospital

Afterwards Sharon, who had previously worked for many years at the hospital as a senior health care assistant, said: “It was disgusting how we were treated. They didn’t tell us anything about her being put on end of life care. They didn’t tell us how severely ill she was. No doctors would ever call me. Every day I asked could I speak to a doctor.”

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The inquest was told that Ann had fallen at her home in Wilbraham Street, Preston, some nine days before her admission to hospital. She had been helped to a sofa and had something to eat and drink following the fall but had become bed bound. Sharon had Covid and was unable to visit her. When she was able to visit she realised her mother needed urgent treatment and an ambulance was called.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Raslan Housameldin told the inquest that Ann had had underlying illness including hypertension, Alzheimer’s dementia, recurrent blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and rheumatoid arthritis. She was admitted to the emergency department on January 15 following the earlier fall and had a fractured femur (thigh bone) and pressure sores.

Preston Coroner's Court on Faraday Court, Fulwood

Ann’s leg was operated on on January 17 but she went on to develop renal issues and was confused. Further tests and a brain scan revealed a kidney injury and a stroke which she was unable to recover from. She was transferred to Ward 21 of the hospital on January 21.

He said it was felt she was approaching the end of her life and Ann died on January 22. He said that death was caused by the pulmonary embolism and contributed to by a stroke and the fractured right femur.Sharon said Covid pandemic restrictions meant hospital visits had not been allowed and she had repeatedly asked to speak to a doctor.

On January 22 a nurse called to say Ann had become unresponsive and suggested family members come in. They arrived at the ward half an hour later and were informed Ann had died.

Mr Housameldin apologised to Sharon for the lack of communication from the hospital and said he couldn’t say why this had happened.

Sharon also asked: “Why did you decide she was not for resuscitation?” Mr Housameldin said it was a medical decision from the stroke physicians. A statement was also provided by a stroke unit doctor.

A Lancashire Teaching Hospitals spokesperson said: “We would like to offer our condolences to the family of Mrs Miller and would like to apologise if they did not feel fully informed on the patient’s situation. We would encourage the family to contact our Patient Experience and Advice Team for support and for us to investigate this further.”