Instructed by the parents of a 34 year old woman [M] who suffered from cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and epilepsy who died in October 2014 whilst in a Lowestoft care home. She had been cared for by her parents at home until August 2013 when they became no longer able to do so, and she therefore moved into a self-contained bungalow under the supervision and management of the care home.
The bungalow was equipped with monitoring equipment designed to alert the care staff to lack of movement, breathing difficulties, epilepsy and sleep apnoea. M suffered from both epilepsy and sleep apnoea. The monitoring equipment was known by staff to be unreliable and in the months preceding M’s death, her alarm had frequently triggered falsely. The staff had therefore got into the habit of simply resetting M’s alarm without carrying out the necessary checks to ensure that it was in fact a false alarm.
On the night of the 5th/6th October 2014, M’s alarm first went off at around 10pm and several times thereafter until it was eventually turned off at around 2.30am. Rather than physically checking on M, the night care staff simply observed M from the doorway from time-to-time, believing her to be asleep, albeit in the exact same position. It was only at some time between 5.00-6.00am that the carer made a physical check on M to discover that she had died.
The cause of death was preceded by seizure/change in breathing. Therefore, had M been properly monitored and had the care staff been appropriately responsive to such monitoring, intervention -including all necessary resuscitative measures - would have saved M’s life.
This claim against the care home settled for £6,000 plus legal costs