A woman died after hitting her head when falling out of the back of an ambulance, an inquest has heard.
Anita Woodford, 66, was being rolled down the back of the ramp on a wheelchair outside the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital while the vehicle was stationary when the chair toppled over.
A three-day inquest has heard that the wrong wheelchair was used when she arrived for a non-urgent dialysis appointment in November 2021. She hit her head after the wheelchair tipped over and died two weeks later.
In CCTV footage shown at the inquest, Mrs Woodford, from Brisley, Norfolk, was wheeled in the chair down the ramp when it hit the bottom and suddenly jolted backwards.
Anita Woodford, 66, was being rolled down the back of the ambulance ramp on a wheelchair when the incident occurred
A three-day inquest opened on Tuesday and heard that the wrong wheelchair was used when she arrived at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for a non-urgent dialysis appointment
The ‘hospital porter’ wheelchair was wheeled by ambulance care assistant Tracey Leigh, who was subsequently suspended and later fired.
Ms Leigh was visibly upset whilst giving evidence at the Norfolk Coroner’s Court inquest in Norwich.
Speaking via video link, Ms Leigh said: ‘I was going down the ramp and, I don’t know what happened, but when I got to the bottom the wheelchair tipped backwards. All I know is that it tipped, and I could not hold it. I’ve done that job a hundred times before and nothing like that had ever happened before.’
She admitted that due to the weight and size of the porter wheelchair, she would not have been able to stop it from tipping backwards.
The court heard how Ms Leigh had received training on best practices for loading and unloading patients.
ERS Medical, the firm which provided the patient transport service, had alerted staff to the risk of using porter wheelchairs rather than the one provided on its vehicles.
Dr Curtis Ofiah, a consultant at the Royal London Hospital, told the inquest that Mrs Woodford was considered to have ‘a number of high-risk factors’ leaving her susceptible to bleeding
Ms Leigh added: ‘I never thought in a million years this would happen. We all used the hospital wheelchairs to transport patients. I had done nothing differently that day than what I had done on any other day.’
She also claimed that ERS Medical management had been aware of its staff using porter wheelchairs for unloading patients from ambulances at hospital. She was fired following an internal investigation.
Mrs Woodford’s husband of 45 years, Graham Woodford, attended the three-day inquest. In a statement, he said the couple had travelled the world together and that she was a devoted dog owner.
He continued: ‘She was loving, kind, caring, considerate, and conscientious. She will always be loved and remembered and never forgotten.’
He added that over the years she had suffered from depression following bereavements, this being a key trigger of her mental ill health. As a result, she had gradually turned to alcohol but ‘did not accept she had a problem’.
In 2019, she retired from her job working at Elmham Surgery, near Dereham, where she had been employed for 25 years. Following a visit to her GP in Aug 2021 she was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital with several health problems related to alcoholism, including severe liver disease. She was discharged home on November 12 that year.
On the morning of November 15, she had been collected by Ms Leigh and a colleague for a hospital appointment.
Following the incident, Mrs Woodford sustained a head and neck injury and was given a CT head scan, before being kept in hospital overnight. Eight days earlier, on November 7, she underwent the same test which had shown a small amount of bleeding on the brain.
Following the injury to her head, CT results showed a further bleed. Her condition deteriorated and she died at home two weeks later.
Dr Curtis Ofiah, a consultant at the Royal London Hospital, told the inquest that Mrs Woodford was considered to have ‘a number of high-risk factors’ leaving her susceptible to bleeding.
The inquest continues.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12015151/Loving-woman-66-died-falling-ambulance-wheelchair-inquest-hears.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270