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Woman dies of hypothermia after saying she couldn't afford heating in her home

Lucy Devine

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Woman dies of hypothermia after saying she couldn't afford heating in her home

Featured Image Credit: Philip Dunn / Alamy Stock Photo / Ian Canham / Alamy Stock Photo

An elderly woman has died of hypothermia after telling her GP she couldn't afford to heat her home, an inquest has heard.

Barbara Bolton, 87, from Bury, Greater Manchester, was admitted to Fairfield Hospital by her doctor after she developed hypothermia, as well as a chest infection, in December last year.

Ms Bolton had told her GP at the time that she was unable to heat her home due to rising energy costs.

Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated in hospital and she sadly passed away on 5 January.

An elderly woman has died of hypothermia after telling her GP that she couldn't afford heating. Credit: Ian Canham/Alamy Stock Photo
An elderly woman has died of hypothermia after telling her GP that she couldn't afford heating. Credit: Ian Canham/Alamy Stock Photo

Police coroner's officer, Jane Scullion, explained at the inquest this week: "Barbara was admitted to hospital on December 11, 2022, with hypothermia, and a chest infection. She was referred to hospital by her GP who said this was related to her not being able to afford her heating.

"During that time she continued to deteriorate. After a discussion she was placed on end of life care and passed away."

Julie Mitchell, assistant coroner for Manchester North, has adjourned the inquest in order for statements from Ms Bolton's doctor, as well as a medical cause of death to be provided to the court.

"Her death was particularly accelerated by hypothermia and there is a possibility of self neglect due to the lack of heating so her death has been referred to the coroner," she said.

Ms Bolton's son Mark told the Manchester Evening News: "We were in contact with her every day and saw her and spoke to her. We have to deal with the sad loss now and it's very hard for me and my family."

Ms Bolton had told her GP at the time that she was unable to heat her home. Credit: Alex Hinds/Alamy Stock Photo
Ms Bolton had told her GP at the time that she was unable to heat her home. Credit: Alex Hinds/Alamy Stock Photo

Hypothermia occurs when a person experiences a dangerous dangerous drop in body temperature - usually when the temperature drops below 35C. The condition is a medical emergency that needs to be treated in hospital.

Symptoms include shivering; pale, cold and dry skin – the person's skin and lips may be blue; slurred speech; slow breathing and tiredness or confusion.

Causes of hypothermia can include not wearing enough clothes in cold weather; staying out in the cold too long; falling into cold water; getting cold from wearing wet clothes and living in a cold house.

A full inquest into Ms Bolton's death will take place at Rochdale Coroner's Court later this year.

If you've been affected by any of the issues in this story, you can find more information about where to get help from Turn2Us via their website.

Topics: News

Lucy Devine
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