Justice for Joan

by Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird

Justice for Joan

by Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird
Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird
We are the family of Joan Blaber who died in hospital on 23/09/17 after drinking cleaning fluid. Please help us to raise funds to pay for a barrister to represent us at her inquest in September 2018.
Closed
on 01st August 2018
£1,667
pledged by 43 people
Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird
We are the family of Joan Blaber who died in hospital on 23/09/17 after drinking cleaning fluid. Please help us to raise funds to pay for a barrister to represent us at her inquest in September 2018.

Latest: July 25, 2018

Care Quality Commission Report 12th October 2017

The Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced inspection at the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 12th October 2017, 19 days after the death of Joan Blaber. The purpose of the inspection was...

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Who are we?

We are the family of Joan Blaber.  Joan was our dear 85 year old Mum and Sister who died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton on 23 September 2017.

Our Case

 In August 2017 Joan had been admitted to hospital having suffered a mild stroke.  She was recovering well and was waiting to be discharged.

 On 17 September 2017 we received a call from the hospital informing us that somehow Joan had been given cleaning fluid to drink to take her medication with, poured from a jug that had been placed on her bedside table.  6 days later tragically Joan died.

 The Coroner investigating the circumstances of Joan's death has decided to hold an Article 2 Inquest with a Jury because she has said it appears that the hospital has failed to put in place a safe system for dealing with dangerous and potentially life-threatening hazardous substances.

 There may also have been other failings in Joan's hospital care before this.

 Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 protects your right to life and a breach of Article 2 is a failure by the State, in this instance the hospital, to protect life.

9 months on from Joan's death and we still don't know how or why Joan came to be given cleaning fluid to take her medication.  She didn't have dementia (as it has widely been assumed in earlier Press reports).

 The Care Quality Commission visited the hospital a month after Joan's death and published a damning report in May 2018 which concluded that there were serious failings on the part of the hospital in the safe use and storage of hazardous substances. Staff had not been properly trained.

 At a Pre-Inquest Review Hearing in April 2018 the Coroner sought assurances from the hospital's legal team as to what measures and safeguards had been put in place to try and ensure that this type of tragic mistake could not happen again.

 The hospital's legal team told the Coroner that the cleaning fluid had been removed from use in the hospital trust (as they said it only gave a cosmetic appearance of cleanliness anyway).

 It was discovered at a subsequent Hearing before the Coroner in June 2018 that the hospital had in fact started re-using the same cleaning fluid again in March 2018 – despite the assurances they had given to the Court in April 2018 and they did not tell any of the relevant authorities or the Coroner that they had re-introduced this!

 Although the hospital's lawyers have admitted full responsibility for causing Joan's death they have refused to pay for the family to be legally represented at the Inquest due to start in September 2018.

 The hospital trust will be legally represented by a barrister, effectively paid from your taxes. 

 We already find the Inquest and legal process very daunting and upsetting and we need help from a barrister to be a voice for the family to give us the best chance to ensure that all the issues are explored properly at the forthcoming Inquest.

We hope that the Inquest will help us to uncover exactly how a mistake with such catastrophic consequences could have happened and to hold the hospital to account.

We ask that you help us to achieve our goal, to obtain justice for Joan and more importantly, to try and ensure that another family never has to suffer this type of tragedy again.

How much are we raising and why?

The Inquest is expected to last up to 2 weeks and legal fees are currently anticipated to be in the region of £25,000.00.

We are represented by Jonathan Austen-Jones from Healys LLP, solicitors in Brighton but Healys can only continue to represent us at the Inquest if we have sufficient funding in place and to pay for a barrister to represent us at the Inquest.

 Thank you in anticipation for helping us.

 Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird (Joan's family)

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Update 2

Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird

July 25, 2018

Care Quality Commission Report 12th October 2017

The Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced inspection at the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 12th October 2017, 19 days after the death of Joan Blaber. The purpose of the inspection was to ensure the trust had appropriate measures in place regarding the Control of Substances hazardous to Health Regulations. 

Areas of concern found were as follows:

  • We found some substances subject to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations were stored in unlocked utility rooms and kitchens.
  • We were able to access the cleaning cupboards where hazardous substances were stored on three wards because the lock code number was written on the door itself or on the door frame.
  • There was no system that gave assurance that Control of Substances Hazardous to Health information had been read and understood by staff using the substances.
  • We saw that there were no Control of Substances Hazardous to Health risk assessments or data sheets kept in cleaning cupboards. The content of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health folders we reviewed was variable.
  • There were no posters displaying Control of Substances Hazardous to Health information for staff to familiarise themselves with, or remind them of their responsibilities.
  • There were unattended cleaning trolleys, which contained substances subject to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations.
  • There were cleaning products in use, which had not gone through the Trust's procurement policy.  

The report was published on the 17th May 2018. 

The full report can be found here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAG9705.pdf

Update 1

Gary and Sandra Blaber and Rosemary Bird

July 16, 2018

More Justice for Joan

Although this is unrelated to the cleaning fluid incident, here is a photo of Joan Blaber taken in January 2016 when she was in the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. As you can see she is in a room on her own surrounded by cardboard boxes. She was in hospital with infected leg ulcers. Is this a suitable sterile environment? This reinforces the need to get 'Justice for Joan'.

Please help us to raise the money so that we can have a barrister to represent us at her inquest in September 2018. 

Many thanks in anticipation of your help.


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