'Missed opportunities' to save patient with bedsore

George Giarchi Image copyright J&S Photography
Image caption Professor George Giarchi from Plymouth died of multi-organ failure in November 2017

A coroner has said there were "missed opportunities" to prevent the death of a hospital patient who died after developing a bedsore.

George Giacinto Giarchi, 86, died in November 2017 at Plymouth's Mount Gould Hospital after being treated for weeks at Derriford Hospital after a fall.

At Plymouth Crown Court coroner Ian Arrow said Mr Giarchi died of multi-organ failure from the pressure ulcer.

His family urged ministers to ensure hospitals had adequate staffing levels.

The former Plymouth University professor was admitted to Derriford Hospital after falling and fracturing his arm at home on 25 September 2017.

He was later transferred to Mount Gould where the lesion was first noticed.

Pressure ulcers, known as bed sores, are injuries caused by pressure on the skin often seen in bedridden patients.

Image caption Prof Giarchi was initially admitted to Plymouth's Derriford Hospital

Simon Giarchi said his father was treated with a "lack of respect" while at Derriford, alleging that there were issues with understaffing and "perceived ageism".

Prof Giarchi's family are calling on the NHS and government to take note of the case and ensure there are appropriate levels of staffing.

The coroner said Professor Giarchi was experiencing "increasing pain" which made it difficult for staff to relieve pressure from his sore.

Prof Giarchi's wife, Clare, said the law should be changed to stop "frailty" and "old age" being listed as reasons for death.

Using frailty as the cause of death meant a "lack of care" can be "swept under the carpet", Mrs Giarchi added.

Lenny Byrne, chief nurse at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, expressed his "sincere condolences" to the family and acknowledged that care had been below expected standards.

Mr Byrne said the trust had undertaken a "full investigation" which had identified "areas of improvement", making a number of changes to prevent similar circumstances in the future.

The BBC has also approached NHS England and the Department of Health for comment.

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