Inquest told dementia patient left 'screaming in pain' with 'horrific' pressure sore at Portsmouth care home accused of neglect

Pamela Ratsey in happier timesPamela Ratsey in happier times
Pamela Ratsey in happier times
A DEMENTIA sufferer with a pressure sore exposing her spine that contributed to her death was left ‘screaming in pain’, an inquest heard.

Life-long Portsmouth resident Pamela Ratsey, 81, developed a ‘horrific’ sore that became infected while at Haven Care Home, Drayton, in 2017.

But staff at the Havant Road residence defended their care of the former charity worker as her health began to plummet before her death in March 2018.

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Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard how Ms Ratsey was left in a ‘dishevelled’ state including being left to wallow in her own faeces and having mould ‘growing out of her ears’, as well as being left for long periods - exacerbating her sores.

Pamela RatseyPamela Ratsey
Pamela Ratsey

The hearing was told of one log entry from a member of staff stating Ms Ratsey was heard ‘screaming in pain every hour’ through the night - with staff questioned over what action they took.

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Care worker Deborah Edge, who attended Ms Ratsey during her night shift, said: ‘I can’t answer that (why a doctor or district nurse was not called out during the night).

‘I just know that Pam didn’t like to be touched. I wouldn’t say she was screaming, it was more moaning.’

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Asked by deputy coroner Lincoln Brookes if staff ever received any pressure sores training, Ms Edge replied: ‘I can’t remember any.’

The worker said district nurses would treat the sores on Ms Ratsey’s lower back and heel, before adding: ‘Her sores were always covered. I never recall the dressing coming on and off.’

Ms Edge also denied being aware of a ‘bad smell’ emanating from her wound before adding: ‘Pam was very stiff and hard work.

‘She didn’t like to be changed and would get upset that we had to disturb her.’

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Quizzed over whether there was a lack of staff to deal with patients, Ms Edge said: ‘Pam required a lot of care and because of her needs things could feel quite rushed. It was a difficult time for us all.’

Another carer at Haven, Sue Legge, admitted Ms Ratsey’s sores could have been worsened after wetting herself. ‘Maybe Pam was a bit damp because of the time it took to get to her with all the other residents we were dealing with.’

Pathologist Brett Lockyer said Ms Ratsey’s sacrum sore, at the bottom of her spine, was ‘extremely deep’ with it exposing bone resulting in infection.

‘You shouldn’t find soft bone and be able to remove it,’ he said.

He concluded death was a result of pneumonia and infection of the bone due to the sacrum ulcer.

The hearing heard how police rejected launching criminal proceedings.


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