Widow settles case over husband’s fall from respite care bed

67-year old Patrick Lalor died weeks after fall from residential care bed in Abbeyleix

The High Court heard a CT scan later showed Patrick Lalor had sustained an eye socket fracture. He later developed infection in the lacerations and sepsis and pneumonia and died on June 10th, 2015.

The High Court heard a CT scan later showed Patrick Lalor had sustained an eye socket fracture. He later developed infection in the lacerations and sepsis and pneumonia and died on June 10th, 2015.

 

The widow of a man who fell out of his bed while in respite care and died some weeks later has settled her High Court action against the HSE on confidential terms.

Richard Kean SC, for Maria Lalor, told the court that 67-year old Patrick Lalor had been assessed at high risk of falling but was put in a bed without the sides up and fell onto the floor.

It was claimed the pensioner was transferred to a community nursing respite care unit from the Midlands Regional Hospital on May 18th, 2015 because of a “dire” need for vacant beds in the hospital and without considering the care requirements or safety of Mr Lalor.

Mrs Lalor had remonstrated with and told the nursing care unit her husband needed to be in a bed with sides when he was transferred but she got a call in the middle of the next night to say he had fallen out of bed and was seriously injured.

Mr Lalor suffered a degloving injury of the right hand and below the right knee in the fall and also suffered loss of consciousness, Mr Kean said.

A CT scan later showed Mr Lalor had sustained an eye socket fracture. He later developed infection in the lacerations and sepsis and pneumonia and died on June 10th, 2015. Liability had been admitted in this “profoundly sad and tragic” case, counsel said.

Mrs Lalor, Kylehill, Cashel, Portlaoise, Co Laois, had sued the HSE over the care received by her husband after he was transferred to Community Nursing Unit 2 in the residential care unit of Abbeyleix District Hospital.

She alleged various failures including to conduct any assessment for bed rails at the time of her husband’s admission to the Community Nursing Unit and to apply bed rails to his bed and safeguard him from falling.

It was also alleged there was failure to carry out any or any adequate monitoring of Mr Lalor given his condition, his confused state and the fact he had just been admitted to the facility the previous evening and had been very ill.

It was further alleged there was failure to attach any weight to the fact Mrs Lalor advised her husband had previously been nursed with bed rails and recommended he be put in a bed with rails.

Mrs Lalor, it was alleged, suffered intense nervous shock when she was telephoned in the middle of the night to be told her husband had fallen from his bed. She is unable to get the graphic and horrific images of her husband’s injuries and his final days out of her mind and suffers from nightmares and flashbacks.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross extended his sympathy to Mrs Lalor and the family.