Sunderland widow died after fall while being tended to by care workers

Sunderland Coroner's Court HM Senior Coroner Derek Winter.
Sunderland Coroner's Court HM Senior Coroner Derek Winter.

An elderly widow died in hospital just days after falling and hitting her head while she was being tended to by care workers, an inquest heard.

Pensioner Joyce Granville Jennings, who suffered from dementia, was discovered on the floor of her bedroom by her carer Wendy Anne Short at her Hastings Hill home on February 26 this year.

“It happened so fast that I had no time to react.”

Andrew Berrett

Ms Short, who was tasked with visiting Mrs Granville on three separate occasions each day, rang for assistance Telecare staff from Sunderland Care and Support.

On arriving at the Sevenoaks Drive bungalow, Andrew Berrett and Lynn Gulliver managed to help lift the 87-year-old into a dining room chair.

But just seconds after sitting herself on the chair, she unexpectedly fell from the furniture, hitting her head on a chest of drawers which caused a gash to her head.

After being admitted to Sunderland Royal Hospital, a CT scan revealed that Mrs Granville has suffered a bleed on the brain, something which worsened over days before she died on March 5.

At an inquest into her death at Sunderland Civic Centre, being overseen by city coroner Derek Winter, Dr Faye Wilson, a geriatrician at the Royal, said she gave Mrs Granville’s cause of death as due to an intra-cerebral haemorrhage.

Dr Wilson argued that she was unable to say when exactly Mrs Granville had suffered the haemorrhage as she was taking the blood thinning drug warfarin at the time of her fall and could have suffered a spontaneous haemorrhage.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation as to what happened,” Dr Wilson told the hearing.

The hearing was told how Mrs Granville, a retired clerk, had fallen suddenly and without warning from the chair.

In response to questioning from Mr Winter, Mr Berrett said: “She just slipped from the chair towards the drawers that were near her and banged the back of her head, which was bleeding.”

When asked by Mr Winter: “Were you able to reach out to get to her quickly?” he replied: “No. It happened so fast that I had no time to react.”

After falling from the chair, Mrs Granville was lifted onto her bed by Mr Berrett and Ms Gulliver before paramedics arrived to take her for further treatment at the Royal.

The inquest is expected to be concluded today.