Great-grandmother died after her wheelchair 'capsized' into a six-year-old pothole

Emily Cleary
·2 min read
Audrey Worrall, 88, fell and suffered head injuries in the grounds of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in December 2018.
Audrey Worrall, 88, fell and suffered head injuries in the grounds of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in December 2018 (swns)

A grandmother of six died when her wheelchair "capsized" into a pothole outside a hospital Accident and Emergency department, an inquest has heard.

Audrey Worrall, 88, fell and suffered head injuries in the grounds of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in December 2018.

The pothole that caused her accident had in need for repair for six years.

Worrall died from her injuries four days later - a death her family claim was avoidable.

Audrey Worrall, 88, fell and suffered head injuries in the grounds of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in December 2018.
The pothole that caused the accident had lain unrepaired for up to six yeas before Audrey Worrall's death (swns)

Son Gary said he had discovered the hazard had been reported as far back as 2012.

He said: "All the evidence is here that this could have been prevented."

Coroner Roland Wooderson ruled the death as accidental at an inquest at Gloucestershire Coroner's Court on Thursday.

The hearing was told Worrall, who was staying temporarily in a care home at the time, was being pushed by a carer to a taxi after treatment at the hospital for a broken wrist.

The wheelchair then twisted and fell as it hit a tree pit.

Carer Lorraine Ferron who was escorting Worall told the inquest that the chair "capsized on the right-hand side".

Safety officer Andrew Seaton said Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had accepted the failure to make the tree pit safe before it happened.

Audrey Worrall, 88, fell and suffered head injuries in the grounds of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in December 2018.
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust accepted the failure to make the tree pit safe before Audrey Worrall's accident happened (swns)

He added that the trust could not explain why no action was taken in the six years prior to the incident.

Worrall, a great grandmother of five and a mum of three, was said to be a well-loved pub landlady in the Gloucester area.

Son Gary described her family as "absolutely distraught" when speaking at the time of her death.

He said: "Her carer, who we don't blame for this, screamed for assistance and a taxi driver came to their aid. She was in so much pain.

"She was just conscious when I went to see her the following morning and the last thing she said was she couldn't breathe, her tongue was swollen up.

"She...just drifted off."

Her family said previously that Worrall, who ran many venues during her long career in the pub trade, was due to be in the residential home for eight weeks so her needs could be reassessed following several health problems.

It was hoped she could have later returned home to her husband.

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