The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted BMI Healthcare Limited for safety failings that led to the death of Michael Walsh, 85, from Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire.
Amersham Crown Court heard today (18 July) that Mr Walsh was admitted to Shelburne Hospital, on Queen Alexandra Road, on 10 February 2009 for an operation. He had a private room on the first floor which had a pair of sliding patio style doors leading onto a small balcony.
Three days after the operation Mr Walsh had begun to suffer with periods of confusion and disorientation. The following evening he was found outside on the ground beneath the balcony. He had fallen three-and-a-half metres and had suffered injuries including a fractured vertebra. He was taken to Wexham Park Hospital where he died two days later.
The HSE investigation found that the hospital had not assessed the risks of patients falling from balconies in private rooms, or, taken adequate measures to control this risk.
BMI Healthcare Limited, of Thameside Centre, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, Hounslow, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In addition to the £100,000 fine, the company was also ordered to pay costs of £29,447.
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