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Doctor apologises for communication breakdown before Ford Dagenham striker's death

PUBLISHED: 14:03 06 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:03 06 May 2019

Vera Sime, a Ford Dagenham striker, mother of three, and greatgrandmother. Picture: submitted

Vera Sime, a Ford Dagenham striker, mother of three, and greatgrandmother. Picture: submitted

Archant

A doctor has apologised after hospital staff failed to tell the family of a Ford Dagenham striker about a fall she suffered before her death.

(left to right) Vera Sime, Gwen Davis, Sheila Douglass and Eileen Pullen attending the opening night of Made In Dagenham at the Adelphi theatre in central London. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire(left to right) Vera Sime, Gwen Davis, Sheila Douglass and Eileen Pullen attending the opening night of Made In Dagenham at the Adelphi theatre in central London. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

Vera Sime, who played a key role in the sewing machinist's strike of 1968 which led to equal pay for women, died aged 88 in Clover Cottage care home in Romford following two stays in Queen's Hospital.

But at the inquest at Walthamstow Coroner's Court on Friday her daughters, Linda Presland and Sandra Sime, criticised Queen's for not telling them about the fall which they only found out about by chance when a hospital nurse mentioned it.

Worried sick, Sandra told the court she tried for four days to speak to a doctor until she finally managed to get hold of one.

Linda said: “We were really upset we could not talk to anybody. I was crying I was that upset. It caused [the family] a lot of worry.”

Dr Khalid Haque, a consultant geriatrician at Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust which runs Queen's, said he was sorry the family wasn't told Vera had suffered the fall when they 'clearly should have been'.

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Senior coroner, Nadia Persaud, said: “There clearly have been issues with communication which I'm sure the trust has taken on board.”
The court heard doctors discovered a fracture after Vera was admitted to Queen's following a fall at her care home last September.

Attending the incident, paramedic Genna Toulson recalled Clover Cottage staff telling her how proud they were of their 'A-list resident' whose photo was on a wall.

At Queen's, doctors decided Vera was too frail to operate on. She was treated and sent back to the home.

But Vera – who had dementia – suffered another fall during a second hospital visit in October. However, the court agreed this did not worsen the existing fracture, listed as a cause of death.

Doctors then operated on her hip.

By this time Vera was no longer eating, drinking or speaking.

Vera returned to the home in Wincanton Road in November where she passed away on December 4 with her family by her bedside.

Ms Persaud reached a narrative verdict saying the fall worsened Vera's condition but agreed with the primary cause of death listed as heart attack along with heart disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes and the fracture.

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