Molly Frank death: Inquest finds Holloway carer died of natural causes
- Credit: Archant
A “generous and creative” carer who fell ill while dealing with a “challenging” dementia patient in Holloway died of natural causes, an inquest has found.
But the family of 61-year-old Molly Frank, who was employed by agency London Care on behalf of Islington Council, say the town hall failed to keep her safe.
Molly, who was on a zero-hours contract, worked night shifts looking after Ahmed Seddiki and his wife at their flat in Papworth Gardens on the Ringcross Estate.
She was taken to hospital on May 24 last year and died 24 hours later from an inter-cerebral haemorrhage and a catastrophic and inoperable bleed to the brain.
It was claimed during her inquest that Mr Seddiki had struck her while she tried to change his clothes and bedding. But London Care’s lawyer suggested that had not been the case, and pointed out her colleague Pamela had not actually seen him hit Molly at any stage.
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This week, a jury sided with the agency and rejected the claim that Mr Seddiki – who was initially arrested on suspicion of murder before being released without charge – had killed her.
Pamela, who’d worked night shifts with Molly at the address for over a year, said: “He is a very aggressive man. He can kick you, push you. [...]
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“Quite a few people had reported what was going on at that house but I don’t know why it was taking long to sort out.”
She told how the shift had been “fairly peaceful” to begin with but this changed when they went to change Mr Seddiki. She said he “didn’t want to be changed” and was shouting at them to leave or he’d call the police.
Pamela had her back to Molly, as she was holding the patient’s feet and trying to change him.
Pamela told jurors: “She said: ‘Mr Seddiki, don’t hit me. Ah, Pamela, I have a headache. Ah, this headache is bad. She just left and was holding the wardrobe saying: ‘This headache is different.’”
She said Ms Frank lay down on the floor – she got her a pillow while calling an ambulance.
Pamela told the court: “She was just crying so badly and said: “Oh, my god, this headache is different.” I was saying: ‘Molly, please stay with me.’”
She said it wasn’t unusual for Mr Seddiki to strike out because that’s what they’d regularly go through and it was “nothing new”.
But London Care’s lawyer Mr Brownhill said: “Molly never said to you that [Mr Seddiki] had hit her head and to be very clear again you never saw Mr Seddiki hit Molly. And after Molly complained about pain in her head she never said Mr Seddiki hit her.”
Det Sgt Simon Cormack, who led the investigation into Molly’s death, revealed there was a previously logged police incident where she had “locked herself in the bathroom” because she “felt threatened” by Mr Seddiki in February 2017. No further action was taken and it wasn’t “flagged up to safeguarding to take any further,” Det Sgt Cormack said. But Molly is said to have temporarily stopped working there.
The jury yesterday afternoon delivered their verdict to assistant coroner Edwin Buckett.
Molly’s family said: “Molly was the eldest of four siblings and a dearly loved and much missed mother, daughter, sister and aunt.
”She was generous and creative, had a big personality and dedicated her whole working life to caring for other people. Molly’s profession was caring – as a foster carer, childminder and carer for elderly people.
“This even continued in death as she donated her organs so that others could have better lives. Molly was deeply committed to vulnerable people being provided with appropriate care.
“We sat through the evidence over the last three days and we are very concerned Molly and her fellow care workers were given no practical help or guidance by their employers, London Care, or Islington Council, who funded the care, about how to manage a patient they were both well aware was challenging.
“We found it shocking Islington had no working system in place to carry out a rapid reassessment of a challenging patient’s changing care needs – something urgently needed to protect both care workers such as Molly and their patients.
“In this case it took six weeks for an assessment to take place and there was no evidence the council had communicated the outcome of that assessment to Molly or her employers prior to her death.
“It has been suggested by London Care that if things became too dangerous on a shift Molly and her coworker could withdraw or decline to provide the care which the patient needed and still be paid for a full 12 hours’ work however Molly was on a zero hours contract – meaning that she would only be paid for the hours that she actually completed.
“Nothing can bring Molly back but we hope lessons can be learnt from her death to ensure patients with challenging care needs are provided with an appropriate level of care by the state. [This case] highlights the challenges facing carers and it is important their safety is protected.”
Islington Council said it had reviewed the incident and was now considering the findings of the inquest to determine if any further lessons can be learned.
Health chief Cllr Janet Burgess said: “Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult under any circumstances but the unexpected passing of a person in the prime of their life is doubly so.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Molly Frank and our deepest condolences are with her family and friends in this difficult time.”