Plymouth father-of-three died after fall while painting house
A FATHER-of-three who went to hospital after falling off a ladder at work later died, an inquest heard.
Alan John Beutner, 58, who worked for Roofcare Roofing Contractors, fell 6ft off a ladder on June 15, 2011 while painting the front of a house in Carlton Terrace, Weston Mill.
Despite not suffering any major injuries, nine days after the fall, on June 24, he died.
At a two-day jury inquest in the city, at the Council House, a jury found the cause of Mr Beutner's death to be multi-organ failure and intestinal infarction and sepsis.
The court heard how Mr Beutner, from Prince Rock, was taken to Derriford Hospital on the day of the fall by his boss David Faulkner with whom he had been working at the time.
The jury heard how doctors at the hospital told Mr Beutner, following a CT scan, that he had five broken ribs on his right side and fractures to his transverse processes, bony structures that protrude from each side of the vertebrae of the spine.
He was kept in hospital overnight and discharged the following morning with paracetamol and codeine as pain relief, the inquest heard.
Coroner Ian Arrow read out a statement from Lesley Ann Beutner, Mr Beutner's wife, which said: "My daughter collected Alan from the hospital.
"As soon as I saw him I was shocked. It took him 20 minutes to walk the 10 or 12 houses to our house with two sticks that the hospital had given him. He was bare chested as he couldn't lift his arms to put his shirt on and it was terrible weather. Alan was in agony and screaming in pain."
The jury heard how an ambulance was called to Alan's home address later that day and he was taken back to Derriford Hospital.
Ian Higginson, consultant in emergency medicine at Derriford Hospital, said Mr Beutner was readmitted because of his ongoing pain. He said it was noted on June 17 that Mr Beutner was wheezing, likely due to the fact he wasn't taking big enough breaths because of the pain caused by his broken ribs.
Mr Higginson said Mr Beutner was transferred to the Medical Assessment Unit that morning because he was "clearly becoming more unwell".
In her statement, Mrs Beutner said that by June 19 Alan's stomach looked "swollen like a balloon" and that his belly button area was "pure white".
The jury then heard how Mr Beutner was next seen by a doctor, around 36 hours later on the evening of June 19, who thought he was may be suffering from a possible bleed in the abdomen.
Mr Oppong, consultant colorectal surgeon at Derriford Hospital, said he removed Mr Beutner's large bowel, the colon, which had been "starved of blood".
The post mortem examination report into the death of Mr Beutner, which was carried out by Dr Paul Newman, of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, was read to the jury by Dr Ian Chandler, following his colleague's emigration.
Dr Chandler said it was an "unusual case" and the reason for Mr Beutner's death was "not completely clear".
On the second day of the trial the jury heard from Mr Beutner's boss, David Faulkner.
The jury heard how Mr Faulkner has been in business for 40 years in building and roofing. He said he had also known Mr Beutner since he was 15 years old.
Mr Faulkner said the ladder which the deceased had fallen off was "no more than 18-months old".
Martin Lee, HM Inspector of Health and Safety for the Health and Safety Executive, then gave evidence where he reported the ladder Mr Beutner was using was a domestic ladder rather than a industrial ladder.
He said: "I would describe that ladder as not well maintained. Whether that contributed to the fall I would not like to say."
The jury found his injuries to be fractured ribs, abrasion of the right elbow, a bruise to the head and transverse process of lumber spine.
The jury found that in terms of defects in the systems that contributed to the death of the deceased, the systems included working at height and the ladder Mr Beutner was working on not being fit for purpose.
The jury also found the level of medical care, from a perceived lack of communication for hand-overs including unsigned documents and times discrepancies, contributed to the death of the deceased.
Following the closure of the inquest, coroner Ian Arrow, said: "I would like to extend my condolences to the family. It must have been an extremely sad day."