Family of epileptic man who died from seizure blames care home negligence

Tragic: Barry Dodson was found unconscious with his head underwater

Tragic: Barry Dodson was found unconscious with his head underwater

First published in News
Last updated
Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A grieving father has accused a care home of negligence after his epileptic son died when he was left unattended to have a bath.

Barry Dodson was found unconscious slumped over a bath tub just after 4pm on December 15 following a seizure.

Mr Dodson, who had epilepsy and moderate to severe learning difficulties, was discovered with his head submerged in water

The 35-year-old had suffered a severe blow to the head from the fall after the seizure.

Paramedics fought to save his life before he was taken to St Helier Hospital where he spent three days in a coma before dying shortly before 8pm on December 18.

At an inquest at South London Coroners Court on Tuesday, his cause of death was stated as a hypoxic brain injury, immersion under water, and epilepsy.

The inquest heard Mr Dodson  had been been living at Care Management Group's St Helier Avenue service care home in St Helier Avenue for 15 years.

Mr Dodson’s condition meant he had regular seizures, and had to be accompanied whenever he had a bath.

But the home also had a policy that when the patient requested some privacy, staff could wait outside with the door ajar.

Mr Dodson had requested privacy for his bath before he had the fatal seizure.

But his family are claiming staff did not do their duties sufficiently while waiting outside.

Peter Dodson, Barry's father, said: "If they had stayed with him it would never have happened.

"They were much further away than just outside the bathroom, they must have been down the corridor.

"He had already had a seizure that day, so he shouldn’t even have been allowed a bath.

"When they let him have one they should have at least been watching him

"If they were supervising like they should have been, my son would still be here."

The inquest heard the Care Management Group's St Helier Avenue service had a policy stating Mr Dodson should be supervised by two people while bathing.

When he had the seizure he was under the care of his key worker Ebeneezer Offei-Addo, and another carer called Seewoosunkur Ballgobin.

Sutton Guardian:

Avoidable: Barry's sister Sarah and father Peter blame the care home for his death

At the inquest the court heard Mr Offei-Addo was 30 seconds away when Mr Ballgobin found Mr Dodson unconscious.

The inquest heard it was unclear how far away the other care worker was when the incident took place.

Mr Dodson had already had a seizure around 11am on the day of the incident.

Seewoosunkur Ballgobin, the second supervisor said he was outside the door when the incident took place, but coroner Selena Lynch questioned his account during his evidence.

Mr Ballgobin said: "I stood by the door and after a while I heard a sliding noise.

"When I opened the door I found him on the outside of the bath hanging in with his head down."

Coroner Selena Lynch repeatedly asked Mr Ballgobin if he was stood by the door or had gone elsewhere, to which he replied he had stayed outside the bathroom.

Ms Lynch said: "The very risk you were trying to avoid happened.

"He fell into the water and drowned.

"Are you sure you were just in the corridor?"

Barry Dodson grew up in Walton on Thames, Elmbridge, before going into care at the age of 20.

The inquest is expected to conclude next week after being adjourned at the request of the coroner for another witness to attend.

A Care Management Group spokesperson said: "“We are deeply shocked and saddened.

“Barry had been living with us for many years and staff cared deeply for him.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities on an investigation, which cannot be completed until after the inquest.

“The wellbeing of service users is always our first priority.”


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Comments (1)

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2:38pm Wed 14 May 14

Noddyblanket says...

Poor Barry. I had no idea this was what had happened. What an awful and it appears somewhat avoidable tragedy. I have met him on several occasions through the college he attended. Thoughts to all his family and friends xx
Poor Barry. I had no idea this was what had happened. What an awful and it appears somewhat avoidable tragedy. I have met him on several occasions through the college he attended. Thoughts to all his family and friends xx Noddyblanket
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