1. ITV Report

Hospital trust apologies after veteran, 98, dies following several falls

A Derby hospital trust has apologised for its failings over the care of a 98-year-old Second World War veteran who died following a series of falls.

Arthur Attenborough was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital in July 2014 Credit: PA

Arthur Attenborough, a former police officer who survived being shot by the Nazis, died in a nursing home on October 10 last year, weeks after breaking his hip while in hospital.

An inquest heard he was first admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital after fracturing his left leg in a fall at home in July 2014.

After surgery to repair the damage he was transferred for physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Royal Derby Hospital Credit: PA

But widower Mr Attenborough then broke his right hip in a fall while under the care of nurses at Derby's London Road Community Hospital.

Derby Coroner Dr Robert Hunter recorded Mr Attenborough's death "was accelerated" by eight falls he suffered while in the care of the Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both hospitals.

The ex-serviceman's cause of death was given as pneumonia caused by the stresses of Mr Attenborough breaking both his legs over a short period.

Recording a narrative verdict, Dr Hunter said:

His death was accelerated by the fact that while in the care of the Royal Derby Hospital and the London Road Community Hospital he fell a total of eight times.

The last fall on September 1 2014, resulted in his second fractured femur and consequent surgery.

The failure to escalate his falls frequency to a senior nurse or doctor resulted in appropriate measures not being taken, which if they had, would on the balance of probability have prevented the fall resulting in the second fractured femur.

– Dr Hunter, Derby Coroner

Speaking after Thursday's inquest, Mr Attenborough's son said the family were now taking legal advice over their father's sub-standard care.

The coroner recorded a narrative verdict and seemed to be pointing his finger at a failure of the system, but I feel individuals failed my father.

On September 1, he had a fall in the hospital and they X-rayed him.

But they only X-rayed one of his hips, which turned out to be the one he'd had fixed previously.

So they sent him back to his bed and it was only after my sister visited him and found dad was in extreme pain that they X-rayed again, and this time found he had broken the other hip.

– John Attenborough

On another occasion Mr Attenborough fell the night before he was due to under-go surgery for his second broken hip.

The former motorcycle police officer also suffered from a bout of super-bug MRSA during his stay but was successfully treated, according to the hospitals trust.

London Road Community Hospital in Derby Credit: Google maps

Mr Attenborough's son, from Burton on Trent, said he was "extremely disappointed" with what he had heard in evidence during the inquest about his father's care between July and September last year.

"When this was going on, we knew things weren't right and we tried to put that right at the time by speaking to the nurses but nothing was done."

In a statement Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Mr Attenborough's family for the distress they have experienced.

We should have considered an increased level of observation for Mr Attenborough whilst he was in our care.

We recognise that this may have averted some of his repeated falls and for this we are extremely sorry.

We have carried out a full investigation and as a result we have introduced a new system at our London Road Community Hospital for the recording of inpatient falls, and we are rolling out further training for staff across all our hospital wards.

– Statement, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust