Pensioner died after street fall
A RETIRED one-armed window cleaner fractured his ribs after a fall on his way to get a newspaper and died weeks later in hospital, an inquest has heard.
Peter O’Rourke, aged 80, died on June 23 at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
An inquest into his death took place at Cardiff Coroner’s Court yesterday.
Mr O’Rourke suffered a fall at the junction of South Park Road and Moorland Road in Splott on May 1 while he was on his way to pick up a newspaper.
The inquest heard he was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, where it was found he had suffered multiple rib fractures.
He was also found to have a secondary pneumothorax. A pneumothorax, or “collapsed lung”, happens when there is a tear in the lung and air escapes into the chest cavity.
Mr O’Rourke also developed a chest infection and on May 24 he was admitted to the intensive care unit with worsening respiratory issues.
Nearly a month later he died on June 23 at the hospital at 5.05pm.
Coroner Philip Spinney summed up that Mr O’Rourke had suffered a fall in Splott where some resurfacing works were being carried out.
“There was some debris there on which he tripped. He sustained multiple rib fractures, with secondary pneumothorax,” he said.
Mr Spinney said the patient died on June 23 of “hospital-acquired pneumonia”, caused by the “trauma of fractured ribs”.
Son Steve O’Rourke told the inquest: “My father had a false arm and he fell on his arm, which impacted into his ribs.”
The inquest was told Mr O’Rourke had a prosthetic left arm after a “traumatic amputation” years ago.
Addressing the cause of death, the coroner said Mr O’Rourke fell on May 1, resulting in multiple rib fractures and was then admitted to the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, where he developed a chest infection and his condition deteriorated.
He recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Mr Spinney added: “He suffered an accidental fall and as a result of that has had rib fractures, has had an injury to his lung and has developed a chest infection from which he was unable to recover.”
Speaking after the inquest, sons Steve and Chris paid tribute to their father.
Son Steve, who lives in Cardiff, said: “He went to get his newspapers in the morning, which he did every day.
“He made that same journey every day for the last 30 years at least.”
They both paid tribute to their hard-working father.
They said: “He was a hard-working, good man, put his family first. He genuinely did. He was workorientated.”
They said he worked as a piledriver, doing groundworks, until he lost his arm. He then went on to work for a window cleaner.
“He didn’t stop working when he lost his arm. He worked all his life afterwards, until retirement age.
“He always worked. He had a good work ethic.”