Saturday, March 19, 2016

Care home workers who lied to police after failing to check on an elderly dementia patient who then died in severe pain are both jailed

  • Pair failed to carry out regular checks, leaving patient to die in pain
  • They then washed her bed clothes and changed records to hide failure
  • Pair were both jailed today for their 'extreme and serious' actions
  • The children of the woman who died have welcomed the jail terms 
Former care home worker Pratima Munjal has been jailed for failing to check on a  dementia patient, who was dying in pain from intestinal problems
Former care home worker Pratima Munjal has been jailed for failing to check on a dementia patient, who was dying in pain from intestinal problems
Two care home workers who left an elderly dementia patient to die in pain because they failed to carry out regular checks have been jailed.

Abdul Khan and Pratima Munjal were working at the Laburnum Court care home in Salford, Greater Manchester when 89-year-old Lily Campbell died, hours before she was discovered.

The pair then altered records to support their lies that they had visited her as required by care standards, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Munjal, 53, has now been jailed for 10 months for her part in the deception and Khan, 22, imprisoned for six months.

The court heard both failed to properly check on the pensioner, who had developed intestinal problems, throughout the night of October 1 last year.

Prosecutors said the pair's failure meant the patient would have been left in severe pain, vomiting and nauseous in the hours leading up to her death.

When they did eventually discover Mrs Campbell had died, they changed her bedding and washed her before calling emergency services to report the death.

Munjal told paramedics that Mrs Campbell had been breathing when she checked on her less than an hour before they found her, but medics became suspicious after finding signs of rigor mortis, which suggested the elderly lady had been dead for hours.

The pair's failure to carry out proper checks would not have saved her life, the court was told.
Munjal had already handed her notice in at the Salford care home as she was due to face disciplinary proceedings for incorrectly recording medical records.

Sentencing the pair, both of whom had admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice at earlier hearings, Judge Martin Rudlow said: 'It was a course of dishonest conduct which soon unravelled.

'For the circumstances of a death to be corrupted and sullied in this way is an extreme and serious state of affairs, it was an act that was so unnecessary. Conduct of this kind can not be overlooked.'

Mrs Campbell's family have welcomed the jail terms.

Her daughter, Linda, stood next to Mrs Campbell's son Clinton, said: 'The last year has been horrific. It has devastated the entire family and only now can we have any closure.

'My mum was an inspirational, strong woman. For her to have died in agony in her care home bed with no one checking on her is terrible. We are angry, she didn't deserve that.'

Her children Clinton and daughter Linda welcomed the sentences
Mrs Campbell  tragically died in pain. Her children Clinton and daughter Linda welcomed the sentences

She added: 'We are happy to see both Khan and Munjal behind bars, and for the judge to say that he wanted to make an example of them. Hopefully now we can find some peace.'

Defending Munjal, Patrick Williamson said she had 'panicked' after discovering Mrs Campbell was dead, and that the team had been stretched after a member of staff who had called in sick.

Speaking after the sentencing, a spokesperson for Four Seasons, the company which runs Laburnum Court care home in Salford, said: 'Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Mrs Campbell's family for their loss.

'We deeply regret the distress that was caused to Mrs. Campbell in her final hours and to the family.

'Following Mrs Campbell's death the home manager and our regional management team cooperated with the police and Salford Council's Adult Safeguarding Team in an investigation into her care records and a call that was made to the emergency services.

'These investigations led to a nurse and care assistant being charged in relation to attempting to pervert the course of justice.'

The company added: 'The overwhelming majority of nursing and care staff do a difficult job extraordinarily well, day after day to make life better for the people living in care homes.

'It is deeply disappointing and upsetting whenever we come across the exceptions who let down their colleagues and the people in their care.

What these people did was not just against all their professional training and the company policies and procedures to support the well-being of residents, it was a criminal act.'

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