Burslem mum, 40, found dead 'in hospital bath'
A PATIENT was found submerged underwater in a hospital bath.
An inquest into the death of mother-of-four Carryann Joynson failed to determine a precise cause of death, but dismissed the suggestion she had drowned.
Instead, a verdict of death by natural causes was recorded after pathologist Dr Andrew Hitchcock said it was more likely the 40-year-old had died from either liver or heart failure, possibly caused by her alcoholism.
North Staffordshire Coroner's Court heard that Miss Joynson died at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire on April 17 last year.
Miss Joynson, a charity shop worker, drank daily and was admitted to hospital after vomiting blood.
She was eventually moved to Ward 230, which cares for liver and gastro patients.
Patient Gillian Bould, of Brattice Place, Adderley Green, who had the bed opposite, said Miss Joynson had seemed 'agitated.' She said: "At about 2.30pm she went for a bath. I thought she had been away an excessive length of time.
"Her friend arrived and waited about 20 minutes, then I said why don't you knock on the bathroom door, to see if she's okay."
The friend, Dawn Deakin, who had lived near Miss Joynson at Card Street, Burslem – said her friend would constantly drink cider throughout the day.
She said Miss Joynson had developed a distended belly and was starting to struggle to walk and had breathing problems.
She was admitted to hospital after she began being sick.
In a statement read to the inquest, Ms Deakin said: "I knocked on the bathroom door and shouted her name, but got no response. I said to staff I was worried.
"A nurse opened the door and I saw Caryann submerged under the bath. The nurse shouted 'resuss' and I screamed."
Attempts to resuscitate Miss Joynson failed and she was declared dead at about 3.45pm.
Nurse Katie Parker said she had spoken to Miss Joynson while she was in the bath, at about 3.20pm.
Nurses and carers would regularly go into the bathroom with vulnerable patients, but Miss Joynson – who was going through detox for her alcoholism – was judged to be alert and safe. There are no standard procedures for checking the bathroom.
Since the incident the bath has not been used.
Pathologist Dr Hitchcock ruled out drowning and said she may have fallen, after she was found with a fresh bruise on the side of her head.
He said the shock of water entering her throat would have revived her from an unconscious state.
He said: "It is the cause of death we see in thrillers, but in my experience it doesn't work that way."
Coroner Ian Smith said: "I'm satisfied she has not died from drowning. I think natural disease related to alcohol, it may be her liver, it may be her heart. If she died in her bed we would not be here."