What a way to die...
An elderly stroke victim begged for a beetroot sandwich and macaroni cheese in hospital but no attempt was made to feed her, an inquest was told yesterday.
Olive Nockels, 91, a former school matron, died after surviving for nearly a month on a subcutaneous drip that delivered only a quarter of the calorie intake specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a short-term starvation diet....
Her grandson, Christopher West, told William Armstrong, the Coroner, at the inquest in Norwich: “The only thing that was said most of the time, as the weeks went on, was that she hadn’t died yet.
“Immediately after her admission it became clear it was their intention not to treat her.”
Mr West, 34, obtained a High Court ex parte injunction on October 6, 2003, forcing doctors to reinstate artificial nutrition and hydration, but the next day Mr Justice Forbes varied the order on an application by David Maisey, a consultant.
In the amended version, nutrition and hydration were to be reinstated only “as far as medically possible”.
Mrs Nockels died on October 10, 2003 — three days after the amendments were made.
Mr West said that doctors told him that the quality of life of his grandmother would be so poor that “it would be in her best interests not to intervene and let her die”. He said: “You don’t just let someone die because you think it’s best for them. It’s inhuman. I would class it as starvation, actually.”
Mrs Nockels’s daughter, Ivy West, told the coroner that her mother’s hearing aid and dentures had been removed — for reasons given to her as comfort and safety. She denied that her mother, from Holt, Norfolk, was incapable of responding when she visited.
“I talked to her every day,” she said. “She would tell me she was cold and that she wanted something to eat. She told me she wanted a beetroot sandwich and some macaroni cheese. She could make decisions for herself.” ...