Honiton man died after fall, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:07 28 January 2016

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.

Archant

Retired phone engineer Arthur Harris, 105, died at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Thursday October 29, 2015, after having surgery on a femoral shaft fracture.

A Honiton man died after he fell trying to sit in his chair, an inquest heard.

Retired phone engineer Arthur Harris, 105, died at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Thursday, October 29, 2015, after having surgery on a femoral shaft fracture.

The inquest, held at Devon County Hall in Exeter on Wednesday, January 27, heard that Mr Harris, who lived in sheltered housing at Abbeyfield Society in Honiton, had questioned why he was still alive before he fell.

Gaynor Whiting, housekeeper at Abbeyfield, said that on October 19, she noticed Mr Harris was ‘going downhill rapidly.’

The inquest heard how Mr Harris had ‘lost the will to live’ and he was ‘tired of being alive’.

Mr Harris had also given up eating and interest in food because he had problems swallowing food and had no taste.

The inquest heard how Mr Harris fell at the care home after attempting to ‘swivel’ into his chair on Tuesday, October 20 - an action he had successfully completed many times before.

Mrs Whiting said: It was on this day I was in the room, and I was aware he was in the room. When he got the swivelling point, he fell to the floor. His leg was under the leg of the chair.

“Arthur was holding his thigh on his left leg and was in pain.”

Mrs Whiting said Mr Harris told her he thought he had hurt himself, and the fall was the worst he had ever had.

Mr Harris was taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where his injury was diagnosed as a femoral shaft fracture.

He and underwent surgery to have it repaired on October 22.

Days after his surgery, Mr Harris’ health fluctuated and on October 26, he was diagnosed with post operative delirium.

The next day, doctors noted that Mr Harris appeared to be in distress and was refusing food and drink.

Despite looking better and more alert on October 29, Mr Harris’ condition worsened in the evening, and he died at 7.08pm.

Exeter and Greater Devon Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland said: “I am satisfied, on the balance of probability, that Mr Harris’ death an accident and so my conclusion is accidental death.”

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Harris’ daughter, Molly expressed her gratitude to all the staff, volunteers, helpers and residents at Abbeyfield Honiton, who showed him ‘great love and friendship’ during his nine year stay.

She said: “He enjoyed living at Abbeyfield and was always very appreciative of the care and attention he received.

“He is greatly missed by family and friends.”

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