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Woman Refused Contact with Dying Mother (9 December 2011)

Date: 09/12/2011
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Woman Refused Contact with Dying Mother

A woman who was refused contact with her dying mother at a care home in Leeds has been handed £5,000 in compensation. Both Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Leeds City Council have issued a full apology to the woman after finding that she was wrongly prevented from seeing her mother. The woman was described as having an estranged relationship with her mother. However, she had made the decision to visit her mother upon discovering that she was unwell. Staff prevented the woman from seeing her mother, as they believed that it might cause their patient upset.

In a report, ombudsman Anne Seex claimed that the woman had been deprived of the chance to make contact with her mother before they were forever separated by death. The report tells of how the woman was ordered to hand a Christmas present for her mother to staff and was unable to give the present to her mother in person. The report also claimed that the woman was prevented from being granted contact with her mother for over a month. The wait was blamed on council processes. The report stated that by the time the woman was granted permission to visit her mother, her mother had suffered from a stroke and lacked the capacity to identify or communicate with her. The mother died the following day.

Sandie Keene, who directs adult social services at Leeds City Council, has told of how the ombudsman's report described an “isolated series of errors and misjudgements” and added that the council had learned important lessons from the case.

Duncan Lewis’ family law solicitors deal with a wide range of family law issues.

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