Woman with cerebral palsy dies after carer leaves her sitting in a chair 24 hours a day for over a year
A woman with cerebral palsy passed away after living in 'degrading and terrible conditions' with her carer leaving her in a cane chair for 24 hours a day for a year
A 54-year-old woman suffering from cerebral palsy, living in Adelaide, Australia died after her carer left her sitting in a cane chair for around 24 hours a day for an entire year.
Police records state that Ann-Marie Smith died on April 6 of severe septic shock, multi-organ failure, severe pressure sores, malnutrition and issues connected with her cerebral palsy after being forced to remain on a cane chair for 24 hours a day in her Kensington Park home.
Her carer found her in a semiconscious state at home and alerted the hospital. Smith passed away the next day. She had been rushed to the Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 5 and had to go through some minor surgeries to have rotting flesh removed from the many pressure sores that were on her body, the Sun reports.
On Friday, May 15, police released a statement, "On April 5, Ann’s carer called an ambulance due to her having severe pressure sores that ultimately required major surgery. Sadly, Ann died the following day."
When investigators went to the woman's Kensington Park home, they found the conditions in which she was living to be "unacceptable".
According to a detective, Superintendent Des Bray, the police have launched an investigation as to how Smith had died in "disgusting and degrading circumstances." The woman's death has been considered a major crime especially post a complaint made by doctors to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner.
The authorities have opened a manslaughter investigation alongside coronial inquiry. Smith lived alone in the house and was totally dependent on the carer for all of her needs. Bray said, "Ann lived alone and had a full-time carer and was unable to walk or take care of herself."
"Despite living in a nice house, Ann died in disgusting and degrading circumstances. The outside of the house gives no indication as to the horrors that were perhaps occurring within it. This is a tragic case," he revealed.
Describing the horrific conditions Ann was forced to live in he told ABC, "That chair had also become her toilet and there was no fridge in the house and investigators were unable to locate any nutritional food in the house."
Smith had been on a personal care plan and was looked after for up to six hours a day ever since 2013. She began to live alone in the home after her parents passed away in 2009. She could not use a wheelchair and had likely not left her house for "a number of years".
The company that had provided Smith with the carer was thoroughly searched and police seized the records. They also visited the house of the carer, questioned the carer and seized items for investigation.
Bray shared, "The investigation will examine the role of not only the carer but anybody who had a role or was meant to have a role in providing care for Ann. The question for us is how did Ann become so unwell when she had a full-time carer and people entrusted for her care?"