A coroner heard how a 33-year-old woman with learning difficulties died after suffering neglect as her devoted family fought to cope with her needs.
Kerry Warren, who lived in Newstead, Stoke on Trent with her sister and mother Tracey, needed help with basic tasks and would get distressed or aggressive if somebody tried to help her against her will.
A coroner was told her parents would give in to her wishes and let her exist on a junk food diet, including chocolate, cake and chips.
The extreme lack of nutrients led to Kerry Warren developing a stem cell disorder, bone marrow failure and severe anaemia.
Kerry Warren had taken to sleeping on the sofa after refusing to go upstairs and her mother would sleep in a chair nearby, but on January 8, 2019, Mrs Warren woke to discover her daughter’s body on the floor, covered in a quilt.
She said that she shook Kerry to try to get her to respond, but got nothing, so she rang Kerry’s father Chris, who lived across the road, and he called 999 and began CPR.
The paramedics, who were unable to save her, then saw bruising on Kerry Warren which triggered a police inquiry into her death, and a report was given to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) but no further action was taken.
The bruising was old and Kerry Warren’s family said it was caused by their attempts to hold her down when she became violent.
The coroner heard she’d been allocated social workers and other expert help as a child and young adult, but Detective Constable David Stubbs said that there appeared to be a point when all support had stopped.
He found that Kerry Warren’s GP de-registered her when she didn’t reply to letters, which led to most of her medical records being lost because they weren’t transferred to electronic files.
It was only when a concerned housing officer visited the family’s home in 2016 that a new referral was made to adult social services.
Detective Constable David Stubbs said the housing officer felt that Mrs Warren was extremely loving towards Kerry, but couldn’t cope, and it was easier for her to give in to what Kerry wanted, instead of what she needed.
The inquest heard that the referral led to her being appointed a support worker, but the family didn’t go to any appointments and disengaged, so the support stopped in March 2017.
This is all very sad, but this regrettably happens all the time, and it doesn’t sound like the neglect was wilful, just a sad story all round, and it’s an all too familiar story with adults with a learning disability.
And many parents, particularly those with a learning disability themselves can’t handle challenging behaviour, and it’s just easier to give in, and they usually won’t ask for help as that’s seen as a failure, and when they do, it’s past crisis point, and sadly it’s a scenario that will continue to happen.
The fact that Kerry’s GP de-registered her without actually visiting to see the family himself, or get social services to intervene means that there wasn’t enough done for this unfortunate woman and her family, and they were neglected by the very people who were supposed to be supporting them, and it appears that services just dis-engage when it suits them.
Social services don’t seem to want to do anything and people are dying because of this, and this country is in dire straights, and it appears that nobody can see further than their own self-interest.