Accidental death verdict after fall

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A FORMER paratrooper died after an unnoticed fracture in his neck crushed his spinal cord and killed him instantly, an inquest heard.

David Murray, 67, of Filey Road, died in Scarborough Hospital on October 25 last year after being admitted due to a fall at home.

His death was caused by the fracture of a pin bone connecting his vertebrae, which collapsed on to his spinal cord, and caused his heart to stop beating immediately.

During his inquest at Scarborough County Court deputy coroner Richard Watson heard that in the later years of his life Mr Murray suffered from Osteoporosis, Parkinsons, and Neuropalsy.

A statement read during the inquest by Mr Watson on behalf Mr Murray’s partner Sylvia Mundy, described how Mr Murray had started to suffer from mobility problems in recent years and that he had become prone to falling.

On October 24 last year Mr Murray was taken to Scarborough Hospital via ambulance following a fall at home.

After being examined by four doctors Mr Murray was kept in over night after test revealed he may have been suffering from an infection.

Statements by the doctors were read during the inquest, all of which described Mr Murray as having a small graze to his head and complaining of stiffness.

Dr Tim Haughton was the final consultant to see Mr Murray before his unexpected death.

He attended the inquest and explained what caused Mr Murray to die, and why it was not noticed.

He said; “I first saw him shortly after he was admitted and the junior doctor presented the case to me.

“He did say his neck was stiff and painful but it had been examined twice and there was not reported to be any problems.

“I put him in a brace though and put him in for an X-ray incase there was any degeneration in his neck from previous falls. I didn’t think for one minute there was any break because of the movement he had in his neck.”

Mr Murray had an X-ray the following morning, but before the results were revealed the fractured bone collapsed and he died.

Dr Haughton said: “When I heard what the X-ray showed I was shocked and very surprised. If I had suspected a fracture I would have ordered for an immediate X-ray.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death Mr Watson said; “It clearly is a very unusual and unfortunate case. I cannot find any fault at all in relation to the treatment he was given at the hospital.”