Gloucester woman died after wheelchair capsized into pit

Gloucester woman died after wheelchair capsized into pit

A pit in the grounds of a hospital, which caused an 88-year-old woman’s death when her wheelchair “capsized” into it, had been there for at least six years, an inquest heard.

Audrey Worrall fell from her wheelchair and suffered head injuries outside Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and died four days later, in December 2018.

The inquest heard the hospital trust had failed to make the pit safe.

Mrs Worrall’s son, Gary, said her death “could have been prevented”.

Assistant Gloucestershire coroner Roland Wooderson concluded Mrs Worrall’s death was accidental.

Gloucestershire Coroner’s Court heard Mrs Worrall, of Horton House residential home in Gloucester, was being pushed by a carer to a taxi after she had been treated for a broken wrist when it happened.

The carer, Lorraine Ferron, told the hearing the lighting in the car park was “not very good”.

“As I was pushing her slowly around a corner the chair all of a sudden dipped and twisted. Then it capsized on the right-hand side,” she said.

Andrew Seaton, an NHS trust safety officer, told the inquest it was “clear there was a trip hazard in that area which we recognised and have now corrected”.

Mrs Worrall’s son told the hearing he had checked on Google Earth and found the tree pit was there in its hazardous state as far back as 2012.

“All the evidence is here that this could have been prevented,” he said.

Mr Seaton said: “We cannot explain why we didn’t do anything in 2012.”

He said Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had accepted the failure to make the tree pit safe before it happened.

“There was a defect identified some years ago which was not acted upon and the root cause of the capsizing of Mrs Worrall’s wheelchair was the unprotected tree pit,” he said,

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