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Hospital fined following patient death

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I read on BBC online recently that a local hospital has been fined £15,000 by the Health and Safety Executive following the death of a patient who fell from an open window.

The confused cancer patient fell from a third floor window at Southend University Hospital in 2010.  Robin Blowes, 69, from Blackmore, recently underwent surgery and had been moved to a “side room”. He fell through a window fitted with a single restrictor.

Southend Crown Court heard how a security guard had been posted outside Mr Blowes' room to make sure he did not leave the ward. However, sufficient safety checks had not been made to the room beforehand.

An inquest last year heard how the patient had undergone a seven-hour operation to remove his bladder before his death. The inquest jury recorded a narrative verdict that he was in a "confused and delusional state" when he accidentally fell.

I was even more shocked to learn that this was not an isolated incident. In 2007, a patient fell from a first floor window at the hospital injuring their ankle.

After the hearing, Edward Crick, of the Health and Safety Executive, said: "The tragic death of Mr Blowes was entirely preventable.

"Had a suitable window restrictor been provided, as it should have been by the hospital trust, he would not have been able to defeat it and open the window wide enough to fall out."

My sympathy and condolences are with Mr Blowes’ family.

By Steven Jones