Woman calls for her mother’s body to be exhumed

The daughter of a 91-year-old woman has called for the exhumation of her mother’s body to facilitate a fresh autopsy.

Daphne Anderson died of sepsis after tea spilt in her lap, resulting in hospitalisation, on December 1, 2015.

Her daughter, Audrey Anderson, asked for an independent autopsy following the alteration of autopsy results after a pathologist heard clinical evidence during an inquest.

Daphne Anderson, from Offington Lawn, Sutton, Dublin 13, went for tea at a Dublin hotel with her daughter Audrey on November 30, 2015. She suffered second-degree burns after what her daughter believes was a scald due to spilt tea.

The elderly woman did not immediately report the injury but her daughter noticed she seemed “uncomfortable” in the car on the way home. Her daughter said she ate dinner as normal that night but the next morning her mother’s blood pressure was low.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that a local GP examined the woman at her home on December 1 before she was admitted to the Bon Secours in Glasnevin.

Here she was found to have marked skin, blisters, and oozing on her upper thigh area and was diagnosed with second-degree burns.

On December 2, a decision was taken to transfer her to the burns unit at St James’s Hospital.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the woman was “extremely unwell” on admission to St James’s the next day and was administered the antibiotic, Augmentin, for a five-day period from December 3.

On December 14, she developed a perforated colon and died on December 18.

The cause of death given by the pathologist was intra-abdominal sepsis, due to or as a consequence of colon perforation. This was a change to the original cause of death as given on the autopsy report.

The pathologist said she could not be certain what caused the perforated colon but said it was likely to be “multifactorial” and could have been a result of diverticular disease, C diff and/or ischemia.

Through her legal team, Audrey Anderson queried the change to the autopsy which had initially referenced the use of antibiotics post burns. Coroner Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest in order to call the senior pathologist involved in the autopsy.

Speaking after the inquest, Audrey Anderson said: “My mum was a lovely lady, very charitable, she worked for Barnardos for eight years as a volunteer and nursed her husband through cancer. Her untimely death has been a great loss to her family.”

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