herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

Death of mum (91) after tea spilled on her lap 'a huge loss'

‘Caring’ Daphne Anderson
‘Caring’ Daphne Anderson

The daughter of a 91-year-old woman who died of sepsis after tea spilled in her lap has called for the exhumation of her mother's body to facilitate a fresh autopsy.

Audrey Anderson asked for an independent autopsy following the alteration of post-mortem results after a pathologist heard clinical evidence during an inquest into the death of her mother Daphne.

Mrs Anderson, from Offington Lawn, Sutton, Dublin 13, went for tea at a Dublin hotel with her daughter Audrey on November 30, 2015. She suffered second degree burns after what her daughter believes was a scald due to spilled tea.

The elderly woman did not immediately report the injury but her daughter noticed she seemed "uncomfortable" in the car on the way home.

Blisters

Her daughter said she ate dinner as normal that night but the next morning her mother's blood pressure was low.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that a local GP examined the woman at her home on December 1 before she was admitted to the Bons Secours Hospital in Glasnevin. She was found to have marked skin, blisters and oozing on her upper thigh area and was diagnosed with second degree burns.

On December 2, she was reviewed again and the decision was taken to transfer her to the Burns Unit at St James's Hospital. She was transferred the following day.

The coroner heard Mrs Anderson was "extremely unwell" on admission to St James's and was administered the antibiotic Augmentin for a five-day period from December 3.

On December 14, she developed a perforated colon and she died four days later. The cause of death given by the pathologist was intra-abdominal sepsis, due to or as a consequence of colon perforation.

Change

This was a change to the original cause of death as given on the post-mortem report.

The pathologist said she could not be certain what caused the perforated colon but said it was likely to be "multifactorial" and could have been a result of diverticular disease, C-diff and/or ischemia.

Through her legal team, Audrey Anderson queried the change to the autopsy, which had initially referenced the use of antibiotics post burns.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest in order to call the senior pathologist involved in the autopsy.

Speaking after the inquest, Audrey Anderson said her mother's death has been a huge loss.

"My mum was a lovely lady, very charitable. She worked for Barnardo's for eight years as a volunteer and nursed her husband through cancer. Her untimely death has been a great loss to her family," she said.

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