A Sydney mother was not being provided with the “necessities of life” when she developed fatal pressure injuries while in her urine-soaked bed in her filthy house, her sons’ trial has been told.
Australian Federal Police diplomatic protection officer Phillip Thompson, 43, and David Thompson, 40, have pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of their 72-year-old mother, who died in Blacktown Hospital on September 2, 2017.
They are accused of causing Shirley Thompson’s death through gross negligence.
The Crown alleges they were aware of her deteriorating condition weeks before the younger son rang for an ambulance on August 23, saying his bedridden mother couldn’t eat and had a wound on her backside.
She had become extremely isolated after her husband’s death in 2012 and was totally dependent on her sons for her nutrition, mobility and personal hygiene.
But the defence says she’d refused to get medical attention for years and died because of the choices she made.
Geriatrician Professor Susan Kurrle on Wednesday told the NSW Supreme Court trial she had considered material in the case including the paramedics’ and hospital notes, as well as the sons’ police interviews.
“Mrs Thompson was not receiving the level of care that would be considered reasonable for a lady of her age living in her own home and being cared for by family members,” she said.
She had high-care needs involving her nutrition and mobility, as well as the management of her pressure injuries also known as bedsores.
“They were the sorts of things I see as necessities of life and they were not being provided,” she said.
The post-mortem report said a cause of death was sepsis, which Prof Kurrle said was the general name for the body’s response to an overwhelming infection.
The hospital’s records showed she had septic pressure sores, an infection in her blood, very low levels of Vitamin D, a fatty liver, severe osteoarthritis in one knee, arthritis in her hips and was missing a large number of teeth.
“She is not a well lady at all,” Prof Kurrle said.
Pressure injuries could occur very quickly and were common in older people who were not moving, who were perhaps in contact with some moisture and who weren’t receiving adequate nutrition.
“If management had been put in place early then the pressure injuries may not have progressed in the same way.”
Management could include not allowing her to sit or lie for long periods, repositioning her regularly, using incontinence pads, applying dressings to the bedsores, using aids to assist in getting out of bed and to the shower, and getting advice on her nutrition.
“These are all available for a person in their home and would be available to her had a request been made.”
She acknowledged Ms Thompson had made it clear she didn’t want a doctor called, but noted other support services are available in people’s homes.
The trial continues before Justice Des Fagan, who is hearing the case without a jury.Do you have an idea for a story?
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