Two care assistants did not perform regular checks on a pensioner who died after being left in a wheelchair overnight at a Birmingham nursing home, an inquest heard yesterday.
Brigid O'Callaghan, aged 74, was found with the chair's seat belt wrapped around her neck at the Bupa-run Amberley Court Nursing Home in Edgbaston, during a week's stay, a jury at Birmingham Coroner's Court was told.
The body of the widow from Sutton Coldfield, was discovered in her bedroom on the morning of October 28 2005 by the private nursing home's cleaner.
Yesterday a care assistant working at the home on the overnight shift after which Mrs O'Callaghan was found dead, said it had been a busy night following a party for residents. Jacques Bishwela told the court he last saw Mrs O'Callaghan at 11pm, when he offered to put her to bed. He said: "She told me 'Men don't put me to bed'."
He added that she told him: "I'll let you know when I want help."
Mr Bishwela said he carried out checks on other ground floor residents at two-hour intervals during the rest of the night, but Mrs O'Callaghan was not among those he looked in on.
The other care assistant working on the floor that night, Ranjit Kaur, also told the jury that she performed checks on residents but Mrs O'Callaghan was not among them.
She said she last saw Mrs O'Callaghan when she took her to her room and left her in the wheelchair, after the pensioner said she did not want to go to bed.
The inquest has not yet heard evidence from the nurse who worked with the pair that night.
But questioned by the coroner Aidan Cotter, Ms Kaur said the nurse on duty was the only person who would know that every resident had been checked.
Brian Mather, a medical device specialist for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency told the inquest a photo of Mrs O'Callaghan, known as Vera, taken the evening before she died appeared to show her sitting in a position from which she could possibly slide down.
Mr Mather said he knew of two other recent deaths which had occurred in similar circumstances to that of Mrs O'Callaghan. One in December 2004 in Westminster, London, involved a woman in her 80s who was found kneeling on the floor in front of her power chair with the belt around her neck.
The second death took place in either 2005 or 2006 in Coventry, he said, involving a young child in a paediatric seat with a "too long" belt, who slid down in the chair.
Mrs O'Callagan, a mother-of-two, was suffering from brain damage following a road traffic accident two years earlier.
West Midlands Police launched an investigation after the death but no charges were brought.
The inquest continues.