‘Complete neglect’: Gran dies amid hospital probe

The family of widower Alma Brooks, who sustained horrific and extensive bruises at Hornsby Hospital, has been left devastated by her death as they await the results of an investigation into what they say was the "complete neglect" of her care.

The great grandmother, 83 - who had fallen twice in the six weeks she was treated at Hornsby Hospital after a minor fall at home - died three weeks ago to the chagrin of her children who were heartbroken to find her covered in blood and badly bruised around the face, neck and arm.

"She fell again when she was discharged from hospital at the BUPA respite home and needed eight stitches, none of the falls would have helped, they just sped up her death," her daughter-in-law Niki Brooks said.

Alma Brooks, 83, died after she sustaining bruises while being cared for at Hornsby Hospital.
Alma Brooks, 83, died after she sustaining bruises while being cared for at Hornsby Hospital.

"The family feel badly let down, we have higher care for our children than we do for the elderly in this country.

"We are waiting to hear back from the hospital about what happened when Alma was in its care, as with most elderly she fell victim of the poor ratio of staff to patient, that's why she got into the state she did at the hospital, it was complete neglect.

"When she was discharged to the BUPA respite home she fell again and needed eight stitches.

"We're so sad to have lost her, she was a wonderful woman, a joy, we miss her dearly, but we now want to see what the hospital has to say about what happened to Alma. We're told it's a few weeks away, we hope we find out what really happened."

Her daughter Tracey McCarthy said her mother's last few weeks were traumatic.

She was left so bloodied and bruised that when her face flashed across the TV news she did not recognise herself on screen.

"Our mother should never have been allowed to fall so many times, finding her at hospital all black and blue like she had undergone several rounds with Mike Tyson shook us all to the core - mum was left so dazed and confused she didn't know what was going on in the end, didn't recognise her face on TV, no elderly person should ever have to go through that," Mrs McCarthy said.

The hospital has told the family the bruises around her neck were sustained when a neck brace was used to manage her injuries.

She had spent six weeks at the hospital where she was being treated for a minor fall at home but her family say she was so badly injured around the face, neck and arm there was no way her injuries were the result of falls.

The pensioner sustained bruises while being cared for at Hornsby Hospital.
The pensioner sustained bruises while being cared for at Hornsby Hospital.

They also want to know why she was sent to her BUPA respite home in Dural by a hospital ambulance in just a gown, and with matted blood in her hair.

A hospital whistleblower has claimed the former sales representative, who suffered the onset of dementia, was restrained and dragged back into her room but a NSW police investigation involving officers from Kuring-Gai Police Area Command concluded on October 14 that no further police action was needed.

Mrs Brooks had struggled to recall the events of the six-weeks she spent in hospital from August 17 when she was admitted to Mary Giles rehabilitation ward until she was discharged on September 29.

Her daughter has called on the hospital to detail exactly what happened during the alleged falls maintaining officials did not inform the family of the accidents until they inquired.

Northern Sydney Local Health District has launched its own external investigation into her care including a review of the falls, communication with the family and the discharge process.

"Northern Sydney Local Health District offers its sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Brooks," a district health spokeswoman said.

"The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) has been conducting an investigation into the care of Mrs Brooks while at Hornsby Hospital, which is still ongoing.

The investigating team, which consists of senior medical experts including a geriatrician, has been in regular contact with the family and will be meeting with them to share the findings of the review, as soon as it is finalised. "

 

Originally published as 'Complete neglect': Gran dies amid hospital probe

Mrs Brooks arrived at the hospital sprightly after she sustained a minor fall at home.
Mrs Brooks arrived at the hospital sprightly after she sustained a minor fall at home.
83-year-old Alma Brooks.
83-year-old Alma Brooks.

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