Paralysed care home resident died after being found bruised and lifeless, court told

A paralysed pensioner died weeks after being neglected by a care worker whose colleagues found the 87-year-old lifeless in her bed, a court has heard.

Warwick Crown Court heard claims care home nursing worker Catalina Ferchiu stood at the door of Rachel Smith’s room to check on her, before other staff found her looking “like death” and called an ambulance.

Ferchiu, aged 54, denies wilfully neglecting Mrs Smith in February last year at the Overslade Care Home (pictured) in Rugby, Warwickshire.

Opening the Crown’s case at the start of a scheduled five-day trial, prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said Mrs Smith had suffered a stroke in 2015, was paralysed down the right-hand side of her body, and had a limited ability to communicate but full mental ability.

Ferchiu, of Pool Close, Rugby, was assisted by a Romanian interpreter in the dock as Mr Grieves-Smith told jurors she was the most senior nurse working during an overnight shift.

Mr Grieves-Smith told the court: “She was registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and she was obliged to abide by their code of conduct.

“Rachel Smith was dependant on this defendant to do her job competently and diligently – she was in no position to look after herself.”

After Ferchiu finished her shift at 7.30am on February 2, the court heard, she told staff who took over that Mrs Smith had been sick during the night.

Alleging other staff had then found Mrs Smith in a “very poor” condition, Mr Grieves-Smith told jurors: “They saw a large bruise to the shoulder area.

“Her face was grey.”

According to one of the nurses, Mrs Smith “looked like death” and appeared to be lifeless, prompting them to call an ambulance to take the pensioner to hospital.

The court heard Mrs Smith died on February 23 and that the case against her carer was not about imposing unrealistic standards on nursing staff.

Mr Grieves-Smith told the jury Ferchiu was interviewed by police and told them she had visited Mrs Smith at about 4am and had seen a bruise as she cleaned her after she was sick.

The nurse added that she had been concerned about the physical health of Mrs Smith and had checked on her again from near the door, and found her asleep.

Mr Grieves-Smith told the jury panel: “Whether she did go back and look again is a live issue for you to consider.

“If she had done, how could she have missed the very sharp decline in Rachel Smith’s health.

“The prosecution say that she neglected to do that which should have been done in the treatment of the patient.

“We don’t suggest that wilful neglect caused death.

“If it did, it would have been a much more serious charge on the indictment.”

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