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A CORONER has raised concerns about patients wearing socks on hospital wards, after an elderly man died after a fall.
Fredrick Gay, 83, died on May 16 at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
An inquest at Ashford heard how Mr Gay had been admitted days before with anaemia and that the day before he died, he fell over as he was getting out of bed.
He was lifted back into bed by nurses who decided to carry out regular observations.
Nurses decided against carrying out neurological observations because, although Mr Gay told them he had hit his head, he said he was not hurt and was talking coherently.
They bleeped doctors three times to see Mr Gay but there had been no response by the time he died the next morning.
It emerged at the inquest that Mr Gay, of The Street, Petham, Canterbury, also had pancytopenia which is an abnormal deficiency in all blood cells.
Although this was on his records, nursing staff said they did not know he was suffering with the condition and that if they did, they would have been more likely to carry out neurological observations.
A pathologist’s report read at the inquest confirmed that Mr Gay died as a result of bleeding around the brain caused by a slight head injury.
Coroner Rachel Redman questioned why he had been allowed to wear socks and slip.
She said: “I am concerned about the care this patient received from nursing staff.
“I see a number of falls leading to death in the William Harvey Hospital and while I am aware elderly people will fall, I am concerned that they are being allowed to stay in their socks. To me that is inviting someone to lose their balance on a slip- pery surface.”
Matron Clare Boggia was among the nursing staff who gave evidence and said she thought it was likely he had been advised not to wear socks.
She said: “Mr Gay was able to make his own decisions and was independent.
“There are leaflets around which we can give to people about wearing proper footwear but we can only advise.
“We are trying to update the forms so there will be a tick box as to whether a patient has been spoken to about footwear.”
A verdict of accidental death was recorded.