Retired officer too frail for op
AN ELDERLY retired police officer died after falling and breaking his hip in a psychiatric hospital where he was being treated.
Leslie Weaver died after falling in his bedroom at Harplands Hospital, in Hartshill.
The frail 95-year-old, of Ferndown Drive, Clayton, was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire but died four days later from a chest infection.
An inquest into Mr Weaver's death heard how the Stoke-on-Trent-born police officer had served for 25 years with Birmingham City Police, which later became West Midlands Police.
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Afterwards he worked in security before suffering two strokes during his retirement.
Mr Weaver's widow, Valerie, told yesterday's hearing how the strokes left her husband suffering chronic migraines and hallucinations.
The pensioner, known as Les, was admitted to Harplands Hospital in October last year after it became clear his condition was incurable.
He died on November 20 after medics decided he was too frail to undergo surgery for his broken hip.
North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict of accidental death after ruling that there were no suspicious circumstances.
A post mortem examination discovered Mr Weaver died as a result of pneumonia, which developed after his fall.
Mr Smith said: "We all want to get old without any problems and go to bed one night and be found by somebody the next morning.
"Sadly, it doesn't always happen like that. We often get old and develop increasing problems.
"Poor Les was obviously deteriorating quite significantly.
"In one sense, the fall and his chest infection was a release."
Jacqueline Wilshaw, a matron at Harplands, told how measures were taken to try to prevent Mr Weaver from falling.
An alarm was installed in his bedroom and he was closely monitored.
However, the inquest heard how Mr Weaver was a fiercely independent man, who refused to use walking aids or hip-protectors.
Ms Wilshaw described him as 'unsteady on his feet'.
She added: "He preferred to sleep for much of the time."
Mrs Weaver told how psychiatrists could do nothing to treat her husband's mental deterioration and crippling migraines.
The widow, would regularly visit Mr Weaver at Harplands after his hallucinations became unmanageable, and said he would sometimes be seen talking to imaginary figures.
"He seemed to have a family of children that he spoke to," she said.
"There was also a group of disabled people. They lived in the police station in Birmingham.
"There were people in the wardrobe. And plumbers, or he would see water coming through the ceiling.
"Other days he would be perfectly normal. On his birthday last year he just got up, had a shower, shaved, washed, dressed and it was just like the Les of old."
Mrs Weaver said she once asked a psychiatrist why he would have good days and bad days.
The doctor had replied: "If I knew that I would bottle it and make a fortune."