Search

Grandson criticises Royal Free Hospital after 91-year-old left to ‘die alone’ after communication mishap

PUBLISHED: 17:23 09 May 2013 | UPDATED: 18:00 13 May 2013

St Pancras Coroner's Court

St Pancras Coroner's Court

Archant

The grandson of a 91-year-old woman who died alone in hospital has criticised medical staff for failing to tell him she was on her death bed.

The grandson of a 91-year-old woman who died alone in hospital has criticised medical staff for failing to tell him she was on her death bed.

Beatrice Flitcroft, of Wellesley Road, Gospel Oak, died on December 29 following a five-day stay at the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, an inquest heard last Thursday (May 9).

She died shortly after her medical team switched her to palliative care, which focuses on making someone who is seriously ill more comfortable towards the end of their life, St Pancras Coroner’s Court was told.

But her grandson, Lewis Buxton, said he was not told about the decision – meaning there were no family members by her side when she died.

“There was no discussion about changing her care to palliative,” he told the court. “Basically, from the nursing side, there was very little communication. There was no offer for us to go down there.”

Speaking after the inquest, he said it was “disheartening” that he did not get the chance to say goodbye to his grandmother, who had been a hospital carer herself after starting her work during the Second World War.

Mr Buxton, 46, who has an injured leg and walks with a brace, added: “I’ve got mobility issues, but I would have struggled to get there. I would have done whatever I needed to do so that she didn’t die alone.”

During the inquest, Dr Dean Noimark, of the Royal Free, offered his apologies for the “incomplete communication”.

He said: “I apologise for that. We do try and keep everyone well informed.

“Of course we can’t go back and change the situation, but I will take it back to the ward.

“There was nothing more we could have done for her. She was an old lady who deserved to die with dignity.”

Coroner Selena Lynch returned a verdict of death from natural causes. She said: “I do appreciate that families can become concerned when there is incomplete communication.”

If you value what this gives you, please consider supporting our work. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express