Hospital cleared over 'human skeleton'

A CORONER has cleared hospital staff of any wrongdoing in the death of an elderly pensioner whose loving family claim he was “starved to death.”

Angry relatives of 78-year-old John Moss say that he was turned into a human skeleton as he lay dying at Rotherham General Hospital for eight days—despite them being told he may have had only a few hours to live.

Retired glassworker Mr Moss, of Rhodes Avenue, Kimberworth Park, was admitted for a hip replacement operation in January but it went wrong and he later contracted the killer bug MRSA, a bronchial infection and pneumonia.

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His daughter Julie (44) and two sons, Colin (43) and John (41), claimed that he had “no chance” of surviving because he was denied nutrients or water and anti-biotics were also withdrawn in the last few days.

They also criticised hygiene, questioned advice given by staff and claimed they had no warning prior to an “end of life” plan being decided by staff.

Mr Moss’s children also asked why he was still eating and able to squeeze their hands shortly before deteriorating and sinking into a vegetative state.

But hospital staff said Mr Moss became very ill from a number of complaints and nothing more could have been done to prevent his death.

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After listening to the family’s concerns, the Rotherham Deputy Coroner, Mr Fred Curtis, recording a narrative verdict, said: “The hospital doesn’t appear to me to have made any wrong decisions and the family should not blame themselves for any wrong decision they may have made or supported.

“In these situations sometimes, sadly, expectations are often too great and I think that was the case in this instance.

“That’s not to say there were not problems highlighted and it appears they have been addressed and action taken.”

It was revealed that 30 or more elderly patients a month die after being placed on the end of life plan at the hospital.

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Keen angler Mr Moss died on March 13 from bronchial pneumonia, contributed to by the hip fracture, an earlier stroke and undiagnosed pancreatic cancer, the inquest heard.

The family’s allegations led to an investigation by the hospital trust.

They accused hospital chiefs of taking him off his stroke medication, putting him on a ward known to have MRSA and giving him an intravenous drip which contained no nutrients only fluids.

Mr Moss was screened for MRSA before being admitted but later developed an ulcer on his ankle which his family believe may have been the cause of his MRSA which got into his bloodstream.

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Doctors said that he was later clear of the bug, although it may have had some effect on his health.

It is believed that the bug had not come from within the hospital, but had been brought in from outside, either by Mr Moss himself or a member of staff or a visitor.

After the hearing, Colin Moss said: “At the end of the day, you can’t beat the justice system and the NHS. We know what happened we saw it with our own eyes.

“We still blame them for his death. To die like this after working for 60 years and paying taxes is not fair."