Family 'traumatised' after coroner confirms constipation and neglect caused death of woman in care

  • ITV News Central reporter, Charlotte Cross, visited Sally's sister, Julie, as she continues her six year long battle for justice

A coroner has concluded that the death of a woman from Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, was caused partly by neglect.

Sally Lewis was 55 when she died in supported living accommodation at The Dock Residential Home in Bromsgrove in 2017.

Sally had learning difficulties and and was largely non-verbal, but was able to communicate some basic needs through single words.

An inquest heard that staff at the care home where Sally was staying knew about her long-term issues with constipation.

However, the post mortem revealed that she died from faecal impaction, caused by chronic constipation.

The inquest into Sally’s death heard that she had a prescription for her longstanding issue with constipation since 2016.

However, for the ten months prior to her death, she had not received the medication.

No regime had been put into place to record and monitor Sally’s bowel movements in order for the staff looking after her to judge whether they needed to administer the medication, Worcestershire coroner David Reid said.

Eventually she served a large blockage in her bowel which led to sepsis and her death on the October 27 2017.

This began a six year battle for justice, which Sally's sister - Julie - says still hasn't been received:

"When you have a sibling that has learning disabilities, you are their protector.

"She relied on her carers for 24 hour care and they didn't do it.

"No one has been held accountable for anything.

"It's broken our hearts, we are traumatised, all of us."

Dimensions Chief Executive, Rachael Dodgson said: “The way we supported Sally Lewis in respect of her constipation simply wasn’t good enough.

"We could and should have done better. For that I am truly sorry and would like to apologise again to Sally’s family.

"Sally’s death has had a profound effect upon our organisation, and we didn’t wait for the inquest to identify the lessons we needed to learn, although following the Coroner’s findings we will reflect and consider carefully if there is any more we can do.

"We acted swiftly to make the necessary changes. We now have mandatory training for everyone supporting a person at known risk of constipation.

"We have a Bowel Toolkit which includes bowel management plans, improved bowel recording charts, a constipation screening and referral tool, guidance on how to prepare for a constipation appointment and more.  

"Nothing can bring Sally back but I’m determined that we will continue to do all we can to minimise the risk of this ever happening to anyone else.”