AN ANGRY son has blamed the axing of Doncaster’s old people’s warden service for his late father being left suffering for ten hours after a fall.
Tommy Corfield, an 89-year-old former miner, died ten days after being admitted to a hospital burns unit because of injuries caused by scalding water in his home at The Hermitage, Moorends.
Mr Corfield fell in the shower at 8am setting off the hot tap, which caused burns to his feet and back. Ten hours later he managed to reach a telephone to call for help.
It is the second incident in a month where a concerned family has claimed that the lack of a warden service had led to a family member being left to suffer after an accident.
In Mr Corfield’s case, long alarm cords including one in the bathroom, which could have been pulled to alert the warden, had recently been removed from the property in favour of residents wearing pendant alarms around their necks.
He had been issued with an alarm pendant but did not like wearing it, and instead kept it hanging on a picture in his sitting room.
His son John believes that, if the long alarm cords had remained in place, his father could have reached one of them even though he was on his hands and knees.
“Under the old system he could have pulled a cord in the bathroom and alerted the warden,” said John.
“But they have taken those cords out to give the old people pendants which they are supposed to wear around their necks.
“But a lot of the residents never wear them. Besides, they are not waterproof, so they could not be worn in the shower.
“They would sooner have the old system.”
Mr Corfield finally managed to summon help at 6am the day after he fell and police broke into his home. “I don’t know what the cause of dad’s death was yet. I just know that he should not have been in that pain for ten hours,” said John.
Pat Higgs, Doncaster Council’s assistant director of adult services, expressed sympathy and said: “Our records indicate he used the pendant successfully on two occasions this year.”
Pendants weren’t water-proof so residents were advised to keep them close at hand while bathing, he added.