An elderly cancer survivor tragically died after a hoist used to lift her had been fitted with the wrong part.
Elizabeth Glen fell while being cared for at her home in Milton of Campsie, East Dunbartonshire on Hogmanay 2019.
The frail 82-year-old suffered a fractured pelvis before being struck down with bronchopneumonia. She passed away in hospital on January 8, 2020.
A probe found that the lifting arm for the hoist had been fitted with a component for another model resulting in the death.
Assured Healthcare – the firm in charge of maintenance of the device – has now been fined £64,500 after it admitted breaching a health and safety law.
A sheriff described the tragedy as an “accident waiting to happen”.
Elizabeth – who lived with her husband – had previously survived several types of cancer. She had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and osteoarthritis.
As a result, carers visited her daily at her home.
This included the pensioner being moved from a hospital-style bed in her living room to an armchair.
A hoist had been installed in her house in August 2019 to help.
It was supplied by a company named EquipU and was serviced or repaired by Assured Healthcare.
Prosecutor Blair Speed told Glasgow Sheriff Court how carers carried out their “normal routine” of putting Elizabeth in a sling on the hoist to move her onto the chair.
But, as the OAP was suspended from it that day, the device “malfunctioned” leading to an “uncontrolled descent”.
Mr Speed said: “This caused Elizabeth – while remaining within the sling – to fall coming into contact with the floor and lower legs of the hoist.”
The stricken pensioner was taken to hospital, but never recovered.
The death sparked an investigation and it was discovered the hoist had been “erroneously’ fitted with a wrong component in June 2019.
The court heard this led to part of the lifting device to fracture eventually causing Elizabeth’s fall.
The component in the hoist used by Elizabeth was marked externally with words ‘Ox Major’ which was a “clue” that it would be for a different and larger model.
It was also said an engineer’s report after the hoist had been worked on had not been completed properly.
Lawyer Ramsay Hall, acting for Assured, told the court: “I am instructed to extend deepest sympathies to the family of Elizabeth Glen for their loss.
“Following this incident, Assured Healthcare has updated the work report template to require engineers to report part numbers.
“They need to check the part number and check that the correct part has been fitted.
“The engineer stated that he believed he picked the right part from the store room – he noted that the shelf was not in order.
“The company accepts that the shelves were not in the best order and steps have been taken to address this issue.”
Sentencing, Sheriff John McCormick said the death would have been “devastating” for Elizabeth’s family.
He added: “No penalty imposed could properly reflect the consequences suffered to Mrs Glen or the loss caused.
“It seems accepted that the incorrect replacement component had been installed but not with view to profit.
“For reasons unknown, the engineer ignored the label on the replacement component.”