THE family of a 92-year-old woman who claim her death was caused by hospital staff errors are considering their next move.

An inquest heard that Barbara Read, of Woodlinken Drive, Verwood, died of cardiac failure at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital on October 28 last year.

Her family, including her daughter Linda Rendall and son Derek Read, believe her heart was overloaded by an excess of intravenous fluids prescribed by doctors, who diagnosed her as dehydrated and suffering from an infection.

Mrs Read, who weighed just 34kg, was given four litres of intravenous fluids over two days, and later a further litre was administered.

The inquest heard that at one point consultant physician Dr Rebecca Jupp had recommended stopping fluids to avoid overload, but that a new bag had just been started and, for unknown reasons, it wasn’t removed.

However, coroner Sherriff Payne said it was “unclear” whether fluid overload was a contributory factor, and recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.

In response to the verdict the hospital’s director of nursing Paula Shobbrook said: “We offer our deepest sympathy to the family of Mrs Read’s at this time.

“The coroner found that Mrs Read died of natural causes and that our trust did act reasonably when caring for her, with our clinical staff carrying out all the appropriate medical tests.”

However Mrs Rendall, a retired nursing lecturer at De Montford University, said: “The pathologist found nearly a litre of fluid in her pleural cavity, which is only meant to contain a very small amount of fluid to lubricate it, so how did that get there?

“He found no evidence of any infection in any of his samples from her lungs, and there is no reason to suspect that the sampling was done incorrectly.

“We want to get to the bottom of what happened.”

She said the family had faced difficulties securing legal representation as, due to her mother’s advanced age at the time of her death, they had been informed that any money awarded would be unlikely to cover their legal costs.