Wanstead nursing home criticised by grieving family

The family of a man who died after contracting sepsis from a bedsore allege he was poorly cared for by his nursing home, an inquest heard.

Peter Cutress, a former gardener for Redbridge Council, died at the age of 69 on May 20, 2019 after being taken to Whipps Cross Hospital from Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead.

Mr Cutress had spent only a few weeks in the home, having been discharged there from Whipps Cross on April 26, and his family allege he deteriorated because he was not cared for properly.

However, at the first day of his inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court on April 29, the then-manager of the home insisted Mr Cutress received all the correct care but had already been severely ill when he arrived.

Coroner Ian Wade QC remarked that “so far all the evidence” suggested the family “may have a misconceived notion of what happened at the care home and how bad (Peter’s) condition was”.

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In a statement read out to the inquest, his family said: “It was only when he was transferred to Cambridge Nursing Home that he started having problems.

“From the first visit, he made it clear he was very unhappy there. On various occasions, we arrived to find the bed was wet and soiled and he also never seemed to have any water.

“The staff had taken his rings and the money we had left him. The nurse’s call button was often missing, either in a drawer where he could not get it or on the other side of the room.

“He told us he wanted to die so he would not have to be there anymore. He was usually very alert, laughing and joking, but since coming to (the home) this had changed.”

Peter, who had type 2 diabetes, had both his legs amputated earlier that year due to gangrene and had already developed the bedsore by the time he entered the home.

His GP at the Evergreen Surgery, Dr Reshma Gajjar, told the inquest: “His healing capacity was very poor, the diabetes did not allow his body to heal in the same way as you or I.

“His bedsore was probably one of the worst I think I had seen in my career as a doctor… I could see tendons and even a bit of bone.”

She told the court that, the day before returning to hospital, Peter had “no signs of potential sepsis” but that, the following day, “his observations had quite dramatically taken a turn”.

Regarding the care at the home, she said: “On the occasions I was there, I did not see anything untoward or that would have worried me.”

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Rashid Ebrahimkhan, then-manager of the home and director of the company that owns it, told the inquest he was a former NHS nurse who had been in the care home business for 25 years.

He said: “In our view, a person with that size sore is very likely to acquire an infection, even with regular dressing. Even if it’s cared for properly, it could deteriorate.

“I believe my nurses are quite capable, they have been trained to provide wound care and have been doing so for the last number of years.”

He said he was not aware of the family’s complaints until the inquest began, despite signs around the home explaining how relatives could contact management about concerns.

He added: “(The family’s) main concern was that Peter did not want to be at Cambridge, it was not that the care he was receiving was inappropriate.

“A lot of people, as soon as you mention nursing homes, do not want to know because of all the stories they have heard… but, at Cambridge, we know we have a good reputation.”

The inquest continues and will conclude today.

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