Helen Pooley represents family of Mrs Joan Blaber at Inquest

20 Sep, 2018

The inquest concluded today after oral evidence from eighteen witnesses and written evidence from several more. Senior Coroner for Brighton, Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, hit out at the 'serious failings' of the hospital trust following the jury's decision delivered this afternoon.

Mrs Blaber was admitted to RSCH on 22 August 2017 after a minor stroke. By 7 September 2017 she was making progress and doctors were considering discharge options. On 17 September 2017, Mrs Blaber ingested cleaning fluid. 'Flash' floor cleaner was put into a water jug on her bedside table which was then used to dilute some squash for Mrs Blaber to drink. Mrs Blaber sadly died six days later on 23 September 2017. The ingestion of the cleaning fluid caused her death.

The jury returned a narrative conclusion today stating that there was "widespread confusion surrounding the water jug system that was in place" and that the "understanding and implementation of cleaning procedures were inconsistent and inadequate amongst agency and Trust cleaning staff". Significantly, the jury also found that there had been serious communication failures at the hospital and that they had failed to "adhere to and enforce the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations leading to ongoing breaches of regulations". A similar incident had occurred in 2016 on the same floor of the hospital involving the drinking of cleaning fluid and the jury found that "management missed an opportunity to learn and disseminate lessons" from this previous incident.

The family gave a statement after hearing the jury's conclusions: "It is our sincere hope the hospital trust learns lessons and takes the appropriate remedial action to prevent another death in these circumstances."

This case has been covered extensively in the media. Click here to read more.

Helen was instructed by Jonathan Austen-Jones at Healys.


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