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Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Death of Christina Dougall, Sheriff Ian Dunbar, Dunfermline Sheriff Court, 1st April 2011


In terms of section 6(1)(a) of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, the sheriff found that Christina Dougall died on 15th July 2009 at 3.30pm within Queen Margaret Hospital, Fife. In terms of section 6(1)(b), the cause of death was (a) acute myocardial infarction, (b) left coronary artery thrombosis, and (c) atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Formal determinations were made under section 6(1)(c) and (d).
Mrs Dougall was admitted to QMH in March 2009 complaining of back pain following a fall. She was frail and had a number of pre-existing conditions including a heart condition. She was placed in an elderly ward but was removed to a side room as she had become disruptive to other patients on the ward. On the morning of 11th July 2009 Mrs Dougall frequently shouted for assistance and buzzed for attention. She fell from her chair while unattended and sustained a fracture. Her condition deteriorated over the following days and she died on the 15th July.
In terms of s.6(1)(c) there were no reasonable precautions whereby the death might have been avoided. In terms of s.6(1)(d) there were no defects in any system of working which contributed to the death. There was no causal link between the fracture sustained in the fall on 11th July (or indeed the fracture of the femur sustained in the earlier fall) and Mrs Dougall's death on 15th July.