Elderly Woman Dies After Being Thrown from her Wheelchair in a Minibus

Mrs Olive Sarti an 88 year old lady died from her injuries after being thrown from a wheelchair while in a well known national charity’s minibus. Untrained staff had failed to use equipment that would have secured her safely in the chair during the trip in London in 2006.

Judge Michael Lawson fined the charity £10,000 and ordered them to pay £5,000 costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching its duty of care to avoid exposing it’s passengers to health and safety risks.

Mrs Sarti was taken to hospital with head injuries and a broken neck after the incident, she died some two months later and the court recognised that the earlier injuries were a contributing factor to her death.

The Court commented on the fact that Mrs Sarti disliked being secured in her wheelchair and it is likely that staff thought that they were being helpful and supportive by not insisting that she was properly restrained in her seat. However, clear guidelines were available from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency amongst other professional bodies to advise that securing all passengers in chairs whilst being transported was essential to maintain the safety of all concerned.

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