To want answers about aunties death?(68 Posts)
My auntie passed away in may, she’d been ill for a very long time. She was an alcoholic with liver failure, her death came whilst she had been admitted to hospital after being found on a park collapsed by a passer by from what the family have learnt she was having the usual fluids etc. And somehow managed to fall from the bed and bang her head, this caused a catastrophic bleed to the brain, if she was a fit and healthy individual I would imagine the damage would’ve have been as bad but her blood didn’t clot and she was declared brain dead a few hours later, she was 50 years old.
As a family we haven’t persuaded anything further as even though she was ill it was a very big shock and we couldn’t fault the hospitals care of her over the years she’d been ill, my gran just wants to leave it be, she was a single lady with no children and treated me and my sister as though we were her own, we was all very close.
For me I just want answers of why and how it happened I don’t want to ‘sue’ or anything like that, just an understanding of why? Nobody else in the family wants this but I feel I need to know. AIBU wanting to know why she died, even though my family don’t want to know?
im sorry about your loss, and I can understand you wanting closure.
To whom was the death certificate issued? This will detail the causes of her death.
YANBU. Knowing what happened and understanding it all is your way of being able to cope with the death. Everyone grieves in different ways and if that’s how you feel you will be able to cope with it and understand it I can’t see why you shouldn’t. I understand the rest of the family may not want to know the truth but everyone accepts what’s happened differently. I truly am sorry for your loss.
To my gran, it just states bleed to the brain caused by a fall and blood not clotting, in simple terms.
There should be a patient advice and liaison (PALS) officer in the Hospital concerned, who you should contact to explain the situation, and that you'd like some questions answered. Here is a useful link explaining the service. So sorry for your loss, and hope you find some answers.
Thank you all, it’s approaching my family I’m struggling with, I know they’ve all ‘buried’ it and I just can’t, I don’t even feel like she’s gone I can’t grieve without knowing
Know what though? She fell from the bed, Hit her head and sadly, was not strong and healthy enough to pull through. I think your grief is making you look for answers that aren’t there. Think of your gran and leave it go, accept that these things happen and it’ll be easier to move on in your grief.
I’m unsure what ‘answers’ you want - the cause of death is clear otherwise the certificate wouldn’t have been issued. Did she have a post-mortem?
She shouldn’t have fallen from the bed.. that’s the bit you can ask the hospital about. Unless she was trying to get up or something.. which a 50yo may well do. But her blood not clotting and liver failure sound like they were due to her being an alcoholic and her general poor stare of health. That’s not the hospital’s fault. Your aunt wanted to ruin her body or ruined it through addiction. The nhs can only do so much. You don’t need to approach your family.. you can ask the hospital through PaLS yourself
I'm sorry for your loss.
I think the reasons given are straightforward too, so I guess that isn't what is bothering you.
Do you mean, how did she manage to fall from the bed? Was she restless or disorientated, and should her bed have had sides on to prevent that from happening?
I want to know how she fell from the bed, could it have been avoided etc.
And tbh watching someone go through addiction is the worst thing you will ever see she never wanted to ruin her body she was an addict! She couldn’t help it, going to AA meetings seeing all these people affected (doctors, business people, ordinary folk etc.) makes you realise what a cruel thing addiction is, we was always under the impression she was doing it to herself, you will never understand unless you have gone through it yourself!
I'm really not sure what you're asking? Do you want to know if she was drunk when she fell? Was she by herself?
Maybe the op wants to know whether all possible safety measures were taken in hospital to prevent her aunt's accident. They aren't always, I'm afraid. You shouldn't just be able to 'fall out of bed', in hospital. That's what bed rails and risk assessments are for.
There would never be any improvements in procedures, if people were always unquestioning and accepting. If you feel the need to ask questions, then that is your right, as a relative.
Liver failure stops your blood clotting properly. Sadly, a lot of alcoholics die from uncontrollable blood loss.
It's not always possible to stop a person getting out of bed and falling. Putting sides on the bed doesn't stop a person who is determined.
Sympathy to you. My brother is an alcoholic who may well go like this.
If she was detoxing, alcoholic delusions and hallucinations are extremely common.
Falling out of bed by climbing over the side rails and taking an extra high fall is, unfortunately quite common.
Short of tying patients down, there's no way all falls can be prevented.
PALS would be the way to go, but the cause of death seems pretty straightforward.
You can ask what the hospital is doing to prevent falls in vulnerable patients, but at 50, your aunt wouldn't necessarily be considered high risk.
Sorry OP, I didn't realise she was still in hospital when she fell.
I understand you want to find out, but my experience of investigating incidents in hospital settings is that the vast majority of the time most things like falls are unwitnessed. If someone was watching then they would (hopefully) have stepped in to prevent the fall.
If you are looking for evidence about if call bells were available, or they were short staffed etc then it's unlikely that this kind of information will be your aunt's personal records.
Was there any kind of inquest?
So OP. If you knew that the fall could, or could not have been avoided, how would either outcome make you feel better!
When it happened there was a nurse next to her, like I said at the beginning I don’t want anybody held accountable nor am I wanting to take it further I just want to know exactly what happened as in my head I just can’t grasp how this could’ve happened?
I know she was ill and eventually the alcoholism would’ve killed her, the shock factor was she got taken in by paramedics to somewhere she should’ve been safe and then a few hours later she’s dead.
When someone's body is that ravaged by alcoholism, injuries that a healthy person could shake off can be enough to kill them.
Sounds like you already have your answers though? You already know why she died. What more do you want from them?
I lost my mum to alcoholism at 57. The death can happen very quickly. Don't know what else you want to know?
How she fell from the bed.. like I’ve said
Contact PALS and see if there's a written statement from the nurse who was present. They should be able to explain what happened, if the rails were up or down, and if your Aunt was aware of her surroundings. I dont think thats too much to ask.
I am so sorry your Aunt died . Could the fall have been prevented ? possibly , but difficult to call over the internet . It does sound as though at the time of her fall , your Aunt was already very physically unwell , it is possible that this might have been her final admission regardless
I am not sure how helpful PALs could be , if you are not next of kin ?
If a patient is determined to climb out of bed, there's no way the nurse could have stopped her. It wouldn't matter if she was clinging to your aunt, she still couldn't have stopped a patient that may have been confused and 'possibly' aggressive. I'm sure the poor nurse was devastated by the death of your poor aunt. I'm sorry for your lose, but you need to respect your gran's wishes on this. This was her daughter, so she is the one whose wants and needs must come first.
Your liver produces clotting factors. It’s really common for people who have abused alcohol to bleed excessively after an injury. Alcohol withdrawal can cause behaviours that make a fall more likely. I guess one can discuss with PALS whether an adequate falls / risk assessment was done an acted upon. But sadly, accidents happen even when all measures have been taken. You cannot legislate for every eventuality. There’s not always someone responsible. Your aunt could have had the same accident at home. Or falling off a park bench. I’m sorry for your loss.
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