A long-serving councillor died after twice falling from his bed at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
But an inquest heard there was nothing to show whether the falls had contributed to Robin Todd MBE’s death.
Durham County Council vice-chairman Mr Todd, 74, of Welfare Crescent, South Hetton, died of a brain haemorrhage in May, two days after falling from his bed.
Pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton told an inquest at Sunderland Coroner’s Court Centre Mr Todd had suffered a haemorrhage before he had been admitted to hospital and then more bleeding before his death.
The initial bleed would have had an external cause but in people of Mr Todd’s age it could be something extremely insignificant: "In fact, it might be something as trivial as sitting down hard on your bottom.”
“Is it possible the relapse was triggered by the falls? It is certainly possible but it may well be that he had already started his acute bleed when he fell out of bed and that is the reason he fell out of bed, rather than the fall causing the bleeding – there is no way for me to know,” she said.
The inquest heard Mr Todd had told staff he had not hit his head when he fell and he had displayed no signs of having suffered a head injury.
He was suffering from cancer of the lymphatic system and kidney failure and it was unlikely an earlier diagnosis of the haemorrhage would have led to any change in the treatment he received.
Recording a verdict of accident, assistant coroner Karin Welsh said it was not possible to say what had caused either bleed with any certainty or if the falls had played any role.