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Inquest hears disabled woman died of neglect in hospital

laura booth with her parents Patricia and Ken
laura booth with her parents Patricia and Ken Image credit: bbc.co.uk

An inquest has found a woman with learning disabilities died of neglect when she was recovering from an operation at her local hospital.

Laura Booth passed away in October 2016 at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield in October 2016 after refusing food at the age of 21.

Her mother Patricia said “part of us died when Laura died”, she hopes the coroner’s ruling would help other patients with a learning disability in future.

Laura was born with Pataus Syndrome, life-limiting conditions and learning disabilities.

The inquest heard how her parents Patricia and Ken raised concerns after doctors ignored Laura attempts to communicate when she stopped eating.

Mrs Booth told BBC Radio Sheffield: "It's been very hard and we've fought to get justice for Laura and justice for people with learning disabilities because they don't get treated properly.

"They just get ignored like our Laura did. The doctors don't talk to them, they talk above them or away from them.

"We fought to get them to realise that someone needs to learn some lessons and this has got to stop."

Assistant coroner Alison Combes said she was concerned how senior doctors’ failed to comprehend the Mental Capacity Act and the hospital had acted “unlawfully” in the way they handled Laura’s feeding.

Mr and Mrs Booth are working with Ms Coombes to draft recommendations to help healthcare professionals better understand the act.