Weak pensioner dies of hypothermia after unable to afford heating

The weakened pensioner died of hypothermia after she was unable to turn on the heating in her house, as it became known to the investigation.

Barbara Bolton, 87, was admitted to Fairfield Hospital on December 11 last year with the condition, along with a chest infection.

An inquest that began at Rochdale Coroner’s Court reported that she had been hospitalized. She told her doctor that she could not afford heat in her home in Bury, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Ms Bolton tragically passed away on 5 January at Fairfield Hospital after the decision was made with her family to place her in end-of-life care. The investigation learned that she was a mother and a widow and had previously worked as an apothecary’s assistant.

Police coroner officer Jane Scallion said at the hearing: “On December 11, 2022, Barbara was hospitalized with hypothermia and a chest infection. She was sent to the hospital, and this was due to the fact that she could not afford heating.

“During this time, her condition continued to deteriorate. After discussion, she was placed for treatment at the end of her life, and she passed away.”

North Manchester Assistant Coroner Julie Mitchell adjourned the investigation and requested a statement from her doctor, as well as asking for a medical cause of death.

“Her death was especially hastened due to hypothermia and there is a possibility of self-forgetfulness due to lack of heating, so her death was referred to the coroner,” she said.

Hypothermia occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to very low temperatures and requires immediate medical attention. Causes include not having warm clothes in winter, falling into cold water, and living in a cold house.

After the inquest, Mrs. Bolton’s son, Mark, told MEN: “We were in contact with her every day, saw her and talked to her. Now we have to cope with a sad loss, and it is very difficult for me and my family.”

Ms Bolton’s neighbors, who live on Dawson Street in Bury, said they were shocked and saddened to learn of Ms Bolton’s death and said she had lived there for decades. One man said, “I think Barbara must have lived here for about 50 years. I know that until recently she worked at a pharmacy in Tesco. This is so sad”.

Another woman said, “I haven’t seen her in weeks. This is so sad. She was a really nice woman and lived here for many years, but lately she’s kept to herself.”

A full investigation into the circumstances leading to Ms Bolton’s death will take place at Rochdale Coroner’s Court later this year.

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