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Elderly woman was not starved

9th January 2007

10082006_stroke1.jpgAn inquest has ruled that an elderly woman did not die of starvation.

Olive Nockels, 91, was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital in September 2003 after suffering a stroke.  She subsequently spent four days without food before dying the following month.  The inquest heard that Mrs Nockels had been receiving fluids containing dextrose but that this treatment was stopped once she developed an oedema (an unhealthy build-up of excess fluid in the body). 

Her family claim she asked them for a cup of tea after which they obtained a High Court injunction ordering the dextrose treatment to be reinstated.  However, the ruling was overturned after hospital consultant David Maisey expressed his concerns to the judge.

The inquest heard that after being admitted to the hospital in Norwich, Mrs Nockels received just 140 calories a day for 16 days, before her treatment was withheld. The 91-year-old was receiving the fluids intravenously until her vein collapsed after which she received fluids under her skin until she developed the oedema.  Consultant geriatrician Brian Payne said that when he broached the subject of fitting a feeding tube Mrs Nockels had not responded apart from telling him to stop or go away. He added that she had seemed confused when asked simple questions.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

 

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