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Men With CP Had Legs Broken At Beech Lodge Care Home

November 22, 2017

The families of two men who suffered broken legs in a care home have asked for the cases to be included in an ongoing police investigation.

Police are investigating nine Sussex Health Care homes amid claims 43 people were neglected – of whom 12 have died.

Matthew Bates and Gary Lewis suffered fractured thighs at Beech Lodge in 2015 but their cases are not part of the current probe, their families said.

Sussex Health Care said both cases were investigated by the council and police.

It said it had “co-operated fully with those investigations” in 2015.

Sussex Police has not commented to the BBC on why the two cases were not included in the current investigation.

Mr Lewis, who was 64 at the time, and Mr Bates, who was then 30, both have cerebral palsy and limited communication. Mr Lewis also has osteoporosis.

Their families told the BBC’s Today programme both men were taken to hospital on the same day and an A&E doctor triggered a safeguarding alert.

Mr Lewis had a complete split of his left femur and Mr Bates suffered a severe mid-shaft fracture to his right thigh at the home in Horsham.

Mr Bates’s father, Mark Bates, said: “Something had gone desperately wrong in that care home.”

Mr Lewis’s brother, Martyn Lewis, said: “That this can happen once and then twice in such a short space of time seems to indicate there is something systemically wrong with the care being offered in that facility.

“We need to know what happened to our lads.”

Following the injuries, a safeguarding inquiry by West Sussex County Council criticised the company and concluded the men’s “fractured legs were likely to have been caused when [they] were rolled or turned”.

Three orthopaedic consultants told the BBC the situation warranted serious investigation and Mr Bates’s injury, despite the impact of cerebral palsy on his bones, was a particular worry.

Two of the specialists said “rough” or “poor” hoisting could explain the injuries.

The men’s fractures were mended with metal plates and screws, and neither returned to Beech Lodge.

After the families complained, Sussex Police investigated but no-one was charged.

In a statement, the force said “following a full investigation no criminal charges were brought in relation to their case”.

“A serious case review has been commissioned by the West Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board in relation to these incidents. The review is conducted by an independent author and is currently being compiled and will be published in due course.”

A Sussex Health Care statement said Beech Lodge “supports people with complex needs, including physical conditions such as osteoporosis, which can make bones very brittle”.

“Both cases were subject to comprehensive safeguarding investigations at the time, involving the county and the police,” it added.

“We co-operated fully with those investigations, which found no evidence of poor handling or any other wrongdoing.”

Nine homes, including Beech Lodge, are currently being investigated by police.

Police confirmed the extent of the probe in August, when officers said the investigation was examining the standard of care in individual cases since April 2015 and seeking to determine whether care standards fell to a criminal level of neglect, ill-treatment or negligence.

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