Coroner concludes hospital care was ‘appropriate’ after she died from an undetected bleed on the brain.

A widow who fell and hit her head on the pavement died a day later from a massive bleed on the brain, an inquest has concluded.

Joyce Moray Bridgman, 83, had been in hospital for more than 24 hours after her fall in Barnstaple on November 3 last year, and had appeared to be making improvements.

Doctors at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) had decided not to undertake a CT scan due to Mrs Bridgman’s improving condition.

But on November 4 she began to complain of a worsening headache.

She lost conciousness and was taken for an emergency scan which revealed a huge bleed, with nothing doctors could do to save her.

Mrs Bridgman, who lived in Sticklepath, Barnstaple, died a few hours later.

An inquest into her death held at Barnstaple on Thursday concluded Mrs Bridgman had died as a result of an accident.

Deputy coroner John Tomalin heard evidence from Dr Jaqui Munns, a consultant in emergency medicine.

Dr Munns said initially doctors treating Mrs Bridgman at NDDH had decided to carry out a CT scan due to her confusion and loss of memory.

But when she started to improve doctors opted not to carry out the scan.

They also believed her confusion could have been caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Doctors instead kept monitoring her progress as she was transferred to a ward.

Dr Munns said: “I believe if we had scanned her when she first came into A&E her scan would have been normal, or it would have shown a small bleed.”

Mrs Bridgman was also on blood-thinners for a previous stroke, but the inquest heard, unlike with warfarin, there was nothing doctors could do to reverse the effects of these even if they had scanned her and found the bleed.

Mr Tomalin concluded: “It seems to me that at the time the steps taken with Mrs Bridgman’s care were appropriate.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But looking at a situation knowing what we know now, we can understand the thought processes.

“I believe the correct conclusion here is one of an accident.”