'Sorry is not enough', say family of woman with Alzheimer's who died after fall from A&E trolley

  • ITV News Central Health Correspondent Nancy Cole reports on a daughter whose elderly mum died after a fall in hospital

The family of a woman who died in a hospital are demanding answers after she was left on an A&E trolley for at least 24 hours.

Silvia Thomas, 77, who had throat cancer, had been coughing up blood when she was left waiting on a hospital trolley at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham last year.

She was taken to hospital by ambulance at around 11am on 30 October where she was handed over and waited more than a day to be seen. 

Her daughter has told ITV News that "sorry is not enough".

Mrs Thomas' daughter Maria Laney, was in Devon when she received a call at around 8pm on Monday 31 October about her mother being admitted to hospital.

She says staff told her her mother would be taken to a ward "in a minute".

However, three hours later, around 11.30pm, Mrs Laney received another call to say her mother had fallen from the trolley trying to go to the toilet and broke her wrist and hip.

Mrs Thomas, who's from Edwalton in Nottinghamshire, was then taken to a ward. 

She died in hospital two weeks later on 16 November.

Mrs Laney believes her mother's fall caused her death and is demanding an explanation, as well as assurance other elderly patients with dementia, have better support.

Speaking to ITV News, she said: "The nurses were watching her but they couldn't get to her in time before she fell but my concern is she must've taken a long time to get off that trolley.

"She should've been on one-to-one care, but later on I was told they were short-staffed that evening.

"Sorry's not enough."

'Sorry is not enough', says Maria Laney

Mrs Laney believes her mother's anxiety and stress from the fall are partly to blame for her death.

She told ITV News: "I got a phone call from QMC hospital, just before Christmas, saying it was the fall that killed her which stopped her heart. It wasn’t the cancer, it wasn’t the Alzheimer’s."

She added: "I've got a letter saying 'I'm sorry' but that's not good enough. You don't leave somebody with Alzheimer's on a ward on their own."

An investigation by the Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) said there were "significant staffing gaps" whilst Mrs Thomas was in their care.

Dr John Walsh, Deputy Medical Director at NUH, said: "I offer my sincere condolences to the family of Mrs Thomas and apologise for the distress caused.

"At the request of the family, we have investigated their concerns and discussed the findings with them.

"Patient safety is our top priority and we have taken action to reduce the risk of patients falling while in our care."

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