Shocking details emerge of how a grandmother died in a pool of her own body fluids after sepsis rotted her leg to the bone
- Norma Palmer’s leg rotted to the bone while she was living at an aged care home
- The 89-year-old was found in a pool of her own body fluids at Regis Birkdale
- Grandma died three days after she was urgently rushed to hospital for treatment
- WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
A devastated family are seeking answers after a grandmother’s leg rotted to the bone while she was living at an aged care centre.
Norma Palmer, 89, was found in a pool of her own body fluids at Regis Birkdale, an aged care facility south of Brisbane, by a visiting enrolled nurse in July 2020.
The health worker observed Ms Palmer’s sepsis leg injury and her red and bloodied back, which had been burned from lying in urine.
Ms Palmer was rushed to hospital after the enrolled nurse, from Care Pact, immediately called for urgent treatment.
The grandma died three days later at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Norma Palmer, 89, was found in a pool of her own body fluids at Regis Birkdale, an aged care facility south of Brisbane, by a visiting enrolled nurse in July 2020
The photo of Ms Palmer’s leg showed her red, yellow and wound, which exposed the ankle bone
Coroner Don Buchanan ruled the death was a health care related death reportable under the Coroner’s Act.
Regis Birkdale and the GP overseeing Ms Palmer’s treatment for her wounds were ordered to conduct a clinical review of their practices.
The findings are with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
Ms Palmer’s family took pictures of the grandma’s back and her badly damaged leg before the death, Albert & Logan News reported.
The photo of Ms Palmer’s leg showed her red, yellow and wound, which exposed the ankle bone.
‘The failure to appropriately manage the lower limb ulcer has contributed to the death of Mrs Palmer,’ the report said.
The report said the GP did not adhere to ‘the basic cares’ including good nutrition, controlling diabetes and using compression garments.
‘The care provided by the residential aged care facility to Mrs Palmer was consistent with GP advice and wound care management plans, but with inadequate escalation of concerns in May to July,’ the report said.
Norma Palmer’s leg rotted to the bone while she was living at an aged care centre. Ms Palmer is pictured with her daughter
Pictured: Ms Palmer’s red and bloodied back, which had been burned from lying in urine
‘It would seem the staff were concerned but this was only ever escalated to the GP, and as a result, no one became involved in Mrs Palmer’s care until July 15 (three days before she died), at the time of the Care Pact review.’
Granddaughter Alana Hewett said Ms Palmer was ‘basically left to rot down to the bone’ without pain relief.
Ms Hewett said there were Covid restrictions that limited the number of people able to visit Ms Palmer but when she went to see her grandma, her leg was covered by blankets and in bandages.
The granddaughter said Ms Palmer was ‘very sharp’ and not one to complain.
The GP was referred to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency but action has not yet been taken.
Regis communications manager Kate Tyrrell told Albert & Logan News the case remains open with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
While Regis will not share information about individual residents, families or employees, Ms Tyrrell said they are committed to work with the commission to solve the case.
Ms Palmer’s granddaughter said the 89-year-old was ‘very sharp’ and not one to complain
Ms Palmer died three days after she was rushed to hospital from her aged care home