Inquest: Grandmother assaulted in street died after brain bleed was missed
Ourania Lambrou's family say they are trying to 'get her a little bit of justice, to find out the facts'
20 June, 2019 — By Tom Foot
A BRAIN bleed that killed a grandmother who had been knocked over by an out-of-control drunk was not spotted by consultants who discharged her without any serious concerns, an inquest has heard.
Ourania Lambrou, who lived in Gaisford Street, Kentish Town, was taken to University College Hospital after being floored by Harry Goodwin-Sims outside the Esso petrol station in Camden Road last March.
Goodwin-Sims had been wildly swinging punches at passers-by and shoved Ms Lambrou to the ground, injuring her back. The 29-year-old pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter after Ms Lambrou died from a resulting brain haemorrhage four days after the assault.
An inquest into the death of the 80-year-old dressmaker at St Pancras Coroner’s Court yesterday (Wednesday) heard that she did not receive a CT scan which could have revealed signs of a fatal build-up of blood inside her brain.
Asked why she was not sent for a CT scan, Dr Alexander Schueler, a consultant and trauma director at UCLH, told the court: “She did not display any symptoms of an acute bleed. It was a reasonable decision.”
The court heard that experts at UCH were not aware of any damage to Ms Lambrou’s head during her fall and had not been told that it was an issue by her or her family.
Dr Schueler added: “We see very few of these cases [fatalities from brain haemorrhage] when there has not been a direct head injury. Apart from Mrs Lambrou, there have been none since 2016.”
When asked by coroner Mary Hassell what other factors were at play, Dr Schueler added that “it is potentially a timely process” and there was a “national issue” of beds shortage. He told the court UCLH was changing the way it dealt with elderly patients in A&E after a review of the case. All elderly patients admitted to A&E after a fall will now get a one-on-one meeting with a consultant, Dr Schueler said.
The inquest heard that the consultant team had not spotted a fracture in her back because of a “complex” X-ray.
Dr Schueler told the inquest that had he seen evidence of blood building up in the brain it could have led him to “reverse” a decision to give Ms Lambrou the blood-thinner Warfarin – used to prevent strokes in elderly patients.
The inquest heard on Monday how Ms Lambrou was taken home complaining of terrible pain in her back and that she was later found with “black blood” coming from her mouth. She was rushed to the Royal Free Hospital by ambulance, where she died on April 3.
On Monday, Ms Lambrou’s daughter Rita Kamilaris told the court she believed the way a police officer moved her body after she fell played a big part in her death.
She described her mother as an “old fashioned” woman who was “almost Victorian in her thoughts and judgments” who had six children.
Son Peter Lambrou, a builder who runs a hardware shop with his wife Cheryl in Kentish Town Road, said: “We are trying to get her a little bit of justice, to find out the facts, and what’s gone wrong in the system.”
Goodwin-Sims is serving a six-and-a-half year sentence.