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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 14:47 GMT
Medics 'unaware man had fallen'
Ambulance staff were not told a patient had suffered head injuries in a fall before he died, an inquest has heard.

The jury heard how Henry Purnell, 77, of Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, had fallen backwards after leaving a pub.

The medics said they were not informed Mr Purnell, who died in hospital, had fallen over and been unconscious.

But witnesses told the hearing at the town's magistrates' court they had told the emergency services in a 999 call that Mr Purnell had suffered a fall.

Previous assault

Coroner Keith Dowding referred to computer records taken by ambulance control staff, which detailed how Mr Purnell had been unconscious.

However, Michael Warner, one of the ambulance crew, told the inquest: "Nobody came forward to say that they had witnessed [the fall].

"I believe I did ask someone if they did see he was unconscious and no one came forward to inform us that he had."

Mr Dowding then referred to details from the ambulance control log, which said the initial 999 call was made at 1744 on 2 February 2007, and stated: "You are responding to a patient in his 70s who has either been unconscious or has passed out."

Mr Warner and his colleague Emma Hicks told the inquest Mr Purnell responded to them, and was "jolly and laughing".

Police cell

But Ms Hicks told the hearing she had been assaulted by a patient the previous week, and so was acting more cautiously than normal.

They said they checked his eyes, ears, face and head for signs of injury and that they found a small wound to the back of his head which had dried and congealed blood on it.

Ms Hicks also said Mr Purnell resisted their efforts to get him on a trolley in order to put him in an ambulance where they intended to make further checks.

After three attempts to move him, Mr Warner told the inquest he called the police, who eventually took Mr Purnell to police cells where he was held for two hours before being transferred to hospital. He died two days later.

The hearing continues.

Street fall death inquest begins
21 Jan 08 |  Norfolk

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