Inquest into death of elderly East Sussex lady shows she may have drunk toilet cleaner

Joan Blaber, 85, died while being treated at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

An inquest held following an elderly woman’s death after drinking cleaning fluid has heard another patient, from East Sussex, at the same hospital may have drunk toilet cleaner.

85-year-old patient, Joan Blaber, originally from Lewes, died during her treatment at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Ms Blaber died in September 2017, just six days after drinking Flash cleaning fluid from a water jug on her bedside table.

Hove Coroner’s Court heard it was ‘highly unlikely’ what happened was the result of a mistake. Before Ms Blaber’s death staff were told another patient had drunk toilet cleaner.

Daniel Gonzales, housekeeper, said: “Apparently the patient, who had dementia or something like that, took it and drank it. It’s just a story, I’m not sure if it was true.”

Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, senior coroner, said it was ‘highly unlikely’ what happened was the result of an error and in June she said a ‘deliberate act’ could not be ruled out.


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