Brithdir Nursing Home: Inquest into six residents' deaths opens

image captionEvelyn Jones was one of the care home residents whose family raised concerns

Six care home residents died after suffering dehydration and malnourishment because of alleged neglect, an inquest has been told.

Stanley James, 89, June Hamer, 71, Stanley Bradford, 76, Edith Evans, 85, Evelyn Jones, 87, and William Hickman, 71 all died between 2003 and 2005.

They were residents at Brithdir Nursing Home in New Tredegar, Caerphilly.

The inquest in Newport follows Operation Jasmine, an £11.6m inquiry into alleged neglect at six homes.

One of Wales' biggest inquiries, it was launched after the death of an 84-year-old patient at a nursing home in Newbridge, Caerphilly.

Opening the inquest, Assistant Coroner for Gwent Geraint Williams said police started investigating in 2005 following the death of an 84-year-old "mentally infirm" woman at another care home in Newbridge.

Mr Williams said it led to officers uncovering a "pattern of concerns linked to other deaths in other care homes".

image copyrightFamily photo
image captionJune Hamer went into Brithdir in 2003

In relation to the Brithdir inquiry, Mr Williams said: "Operation Jasmine uncovered evidence suggesting poor care of residents, including allegations of poor pressure sore and peg [percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy] feed management, malnourishment, and general neglect of the residents' long-term needs, together with deficient standards of care and nursing practice."

The inquest heard resident Mr James, who had dementia and was not mobile, developed several pressure sores in the 18 months before he died in August 2003.

Mr Bradford, who had schizophrenia, was admitted to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil on several occasions for complaints of "dehydration, chest and urine infections".

Before he died in August 2005 he was "observed to be seriously malnourished", by doctors.

Dementia patient Mrs Evans was admitted to the same hospital in September 2005, where nurses found the site around her feeding tube "infected", while broken skin was found on her buttocks and she appeared "unkempt and dirty, and her mouth and lips were dry and her tongue was thick".

image captionThe trial of the late Dr Prana Das for care home neglect collapsed after he suffered brain damage in an attack

Dr Prana Das, who owned and ran the nursing home along with several other facilities in Wales, faced a string of charges relating to failings in care.

He suffered a brain injury during a burglary at his home in 2012 and was declared medically unfit to stand trial.

Dr Das died in January 2020 aged 73, but his widow and co-owner of the home, Dr Nishebita Das, who is said not to have taken part in running it, is expected to give evidence at the inquest.

'Consider nurses' actions'

Mr Williams told the hearing that, even before the couple purchased the home in April 2002 under their company Puretruce Health Care Limited, "serious concerns" were raised by state agencies regarding the number of residents who had suffered pressure ulcers.

"Those issues continued, even after Dr Das assumed ownership of the home," he said.

Mr Williams said the inquest will consider the actions of nurses and carers at the home, "many of whom came to this country from abroad to work and have since returned there, and are now not available to participate in the inquest".

The inquest is set to last until March.

A hearing into the death of a seventh resident, Matthew Higgins, 86, will be held following the conclusion of this inquest.

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