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Pensioner isolated from Covid-19 in ‘understaffed’ care home

An inquest into the hospital death of a frail pensioner heard he had been in an “understaffed” home where Covid-19 had broken out and 45 residents tested positive.

Murray Hyslop, who died on January 16, 2021, had been resident at Willow Tree Care Home, Mansfield, where he had tested positive for Covid-19 on December 11, 2020.

The pensioner was one of 45 residents who tested positive with the virus and, out of 51 staff, only seven did not test positive over that period.

After isolating in his room, 82-year-old Murray was admitted to hospital extremely emaciated, the Nottingham inquest had heard, and with skin damage which raised a red flag.

Parkinson’s disease sufferer Murray passed away at the King’s Mill Hospital, Mansfield Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, weeks after his hospital admission on Christmas Eve.

He was malnourished, and had an “acute kidney injury” – where the kidneys suddenly stop working properly, the inquest heard.

The proposed medical cause of death was pneumonia and undiagnosed ischemic heart disease.



Murray Hyslop's son Andrew, pictured, is attending the inquest
Murray Hyslop’s son Andrew, pictured, is attending the inquest

He also had multiple superficial pressure ulcers on hospital admission, which, the inquest heard, would be a red flag to refer to safeguarding. A referral was made to Nottinghamshire County Council older adults social care team.

Murray was described on hospital admission as generally unwell, unresponsive, with dark pressure damage very prominent on his spinal bone. He had other pressure damage and there were concerns he had not been moved in bed for some time.

Murray’s son, Andrew Hyslop, had expressed concerns. Murray had been unresponsive but breathing on admission to hospital.

It was a social worker’s view it was very apparent that at the point of his admission to hospital he was not the Mr Hyslop demonstrated by care plans.

Hearing from more care staff on day two of the inquiry into his death, one said “we were understaffed” and “there was a shortage of staff and everything”.

Sally Ward, the registered manager, admitted “documentation was very poor at the time” and “it was a really stressful period” and “the staff were going off isolating”.

Everybody was hands on, she had added, and “it was an absolutely horrendous experience”.

“Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, it may sound like a poor excuse, it was all hands on deck and documentation was not completed,” added Miss Ward.

Murray’s last weight recorded at the home was on December 10, 2020, and was 68.1 kilos. He was weighed in hospital about five days after admission and he had lost eight kilos in that period.

Assistant coroner Gordon Clow asked Miss Ward if it was reasonable to assume Murray had lost some of that weight not eating in a few days up to his admission and she replied “yes”.

In hospital Murray was on IV fluids and antibiotics but, Dr Steven Rutter, a consultant geriatrician at King’s Mill Hospital, told the hearing it was fairly clear very early on “we were not going to manage to keep him alive, I am afraid”.

“I think the problem was he was so frail and unwell when he came in. We were never going to win, I am afraid,” he said.

Murray was put on end of life pathway.

The inquest, at Nottingham’s Council House, concludes on Thursday, September 30.

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