Care home fined £1.6m after woman dies of hypothermia

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Oaklands Country Care Home near York has been fined £1.6m after a 91-year-old resident died from hypothermia.

Home owners Maria Mallaband Care Group Ltd of Leeds pleaded to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act at York Crown Court.

Annie Barritt, who suffered from dementia, died in hospital in November 2012 after being found ill at the home in Kirk Hammerton.

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Ms Barritt was admitted to hospital with a body temperature of 25.3C well below the normal rate of 37C.

The court heard that the home had a faulty heating system and Ms Barritt had not been given hot food or drink on the day she died.

Judge Paul Batty QC said there has been “systematic, systemic failures” at the care home and that when Ms Barritt was brought into hospital “her body temperature was at a level barely compatible with human life”.

He blamed the resident’s death on a failure to update her care plan.

Ms Barritt’s family said in a statement: “It is hard to believe an elderly lady with dementia could be treated in such an appalling way in a care home that claimed to specialise in care for vulnerable people.

“A fine, no matter how large, could never replace a loved one: what price can you put on your mother’s life?”

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