Police probe 'unexplained' injury claims

POLICE and health chiefs are investigating claims that an elderly Alzheimer's sufferer cared for at a specialist health unit sustained a major “unexplained” injury that has left him needing a new hip.

POLICE and health chiefs are investigating claims that an elderly Alzheimer's sufferer cared for at a specialist health unit sustained a major “unexplained” injury that has left him needing a new hip.

Graham Barrett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's six years ago, before being moved, just before Christmas last year, to the Wedgwood House Day Hospital which specialises in dementia and Alzheimer's.

The hospital, at the back of West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, is run by the zero-star rated Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust.

The family of Mr Barrett, a retired electrician, claims he suffered an injury so severe that medical experts compared the impact with that of a “car crash” while at Wedgwood House.


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Suffolk Police is currently investigating the 69-year-old's unexplained hip injury and whether it was the result of criminal conduct.

The mental health trust is also investigating the alleged incident.

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His doting daughter Jan Crane, 36, who lives in Scotland, claimed that within two weeks of him being at the unit he lost a significant amount of weight.

Mrs Crane claimed he continued to lose weight, his dentures ceased to fit and then, on January 29 this year, the family was called at breakfast time by the day hospital by staff at the unit saying an ambulance and doctor had been called to Mr Barrett and that he needed to taken away for X-rays.

Mr Barrett had suffered a compound fracture to his hip, as a result of his thighbone shunting into it. The once-keen cyclist now needs a hip replacement.

Doctors who examined him apparently found no signs of osteoporosis or any other degenerative bone condition at the time that might have explained the severity of the compound hip fracture.

Mrs Crane said: “One of the team explained the level of injury and that it normally took a thrust from the feet or knees, such as an impact in a car crash, to thrust the leg into the hip with enough force to cause the damage seen here to his joint.”

Mr Barrett, of Bury St Edmunds, was then taken into theatre where a pin was inserted into his leg.

Mr Barrett has since been removed from the Wedgwood Day Hospital and has spent a number of months being cared for at West Suffolk Hospital. On Monday he was moved to a nursing home in Sudbury - which has left his wife Barbara, 66, unable to visit him without taking taxis.

Alan Staff, director of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, said he was aware of Mr Barrett's case.

“As it is a matter of police inquiry I am not able to comment on the specific case, but any incident which occurs to an individual in our care is fully investigated by the trust.”

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “A joint investigation between ourselves and the trust has been launched.

”We have been made aware that a patient at this unit has an unexplained injury and as such we are looking at this to see whether or not there is any criminal element to it or any third party involvement in that injury.”

Laurence.cawleyl@eadt.co.uk

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