AN ELDERLY Emsworth man who died at St Richard’s hospital in September had been about to go on holiday, an inquest was told on December 12.
John Caulder, 90, was found unconscious in a chair at his home on September 22, and died at St Richard’s Hospital on September 24.
His half-packed bags were on the bed, and his great nephew, David Heck, told the inquest in Chichester on December 12 that Mr Caulder had been due to go to the Isle of Wight.
Assistant deputy coroner Joe Turner recorded a verdict of accidental death, and attributed it to a fall.
Mr Caulder was a retired school teacher who lived alone at his bungalow in Orchard Lane, in Emsworth.
On September 21 a neighbour had knocked on his door and received no reply. She could see Mr Caulder through a window and thought he was asleep in his chair.
However she came back the next day and saw he was in the same position.
He was immediately taken to St Richard’s hospital, but did not regain consciousness before his death two days later.
The postmortem showed Mr Caulder died primarily of a subdural haemotoma, and but it was also noted he had ischaemic heart disease.
A subdural haemotoma is where internal bleeding in the skull builds up pressure on the brain, and is usually caused by a fall.
At his home there was no obvious evidence of his having fallen. However two weeks prior to his death he had fallen down in Emsworth High Street, and suffered a black eye and cuts to his forehead.
Nevertheless the coroner noted it would be unusual for a subdural haemotoma to take such a lengthy period to build up, but added: “It’s most likely to have occurred because of a fall.
“Certainly two weeks is a long time for a subdural haemotoma to occur in that way, or he could have had a minor fall at home.”
Mr Turner noted Mr Caulder could have fallen down after and exacerbated the previous injury.
The inquest was also told the last time Mr Caulder’s GP had seen him in March, he had been in good health.
In his conclusion Mr Turner said he felt it was most likely the cause of death had been the original fall, and but could not be absolutely certain of whether it was this or a subsequent fall which had led to the subdural haemotoma.