A man dubbed “a fighter and a survivor” died after a fall in a hospital ward, an inquest heard today.
Coroner Edward Thomas held the inquest into Herbert Gale’s death at Hatfield Coroners’ Court this morning, attended by Mr Gale’s son and daughter.
A retired pattern cutter, Mr Gale had lived in Watling Mansions, Radlett, for the past 12 years with his wife Millicent, but was taken to hospital following a fall in his home in July last year.
Speaking to the court, son Paul Gale said his father had a history of poor balance and fell frequently.
Mr Gale was given a number of tests on his admittance into hospital on July 28, where medical staff discovered a subdural haematoma, or bleed between the skull and the brain, which was later evacuated.
The German born 90-year-old remained in Watford General Hospital where his condition was believed to be improving, and staff were in the process of developing a plan to move Mr Gale out of hospital and into intermediate or residential care.
However Mr Gale suffered a second fall on September 19 after he was moved from his bed – which was due to be replaced that day for safety reasons – into a chair and placed into the care of an agency nurse.
While the nurses’ back was turned to administer medication to another patient, it is believed Mr Gale stood up from his chair and fell to the floor.
Doctors were called immediately and hoisted him into a bed and his condition was recorded as alert- however this later deteriorated when a second subdural haematoma was found and Mr Gale later died on October 5.
Mr Thomas concluded that the death was as a result of injuries sustained in a fall while an inpatient in a hospital, citing the cause of death as aspiration pneumonia due to a subdural haematoma.
Speaking to Mr Gale's children, who told the court that their father had come to England aged 14 after his parents were killed in Auschwitz, he added: "Your father must have been a lovely person to have met."
The family stated after the inquest that they are now seeking legal advice regarding a medical negligence case.