Retired circus performer died after tripping over kerb in Tulse Hill, coroners court hears.
Freddy Mayhew, Reporter
February 14, 2014
A retired circus performer died after she tripped and fell over a kerb, a coroner’s court found yesterday.
Miriam Ginnett was with husband Frank, also a former circus performer, when she fell and hit her head on the pavement in Norwood Road, Tulse Hill, and was taken to King’s College Hospital.
There her condition deteriorated and she died a month later, on September 11, 2012, aged 86, with 93-year-old Frank at her side.
Coroner Henrietta Hill recorded a verdict of natural causes at Southwark Coroner’s Court, listing her head injury alongside lung cancer and heart failure as the causes of her death.
Paramedic James Stark, who was first to treat Mrs Ginnett, told the coroner: “She was walking along the pavement, tripped over the kerb and hit her head on the concrete floor.
“I found [her] lying on her back, her legs in the road. There was blood around her head.”
The fall fractured Mrs Ginnet’s temple and she was admitted to hospital the same day.
Mrs Ginnett, of Crown Lane Gardens, Streatham, suffered from severe osteo-arthritis and was due to have her entire left knee replaced in an operation. As a result she walked with a stick.
She was also waiting to have a pace-maker fitted to repair a heart abnormality and suffered from aortic stenosis — a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve.
Medical reports showed Mrs Ginnett had fainted around the time of the fall as a result of her heart problems.
Ms Hill said it was unclear if this was the cause of her fall or whether she stumbled because of her impaired movement.
While in hospital her condition worsened and she gradually lost mobility and cognitive skills, needing full nursing care.
Ms Hill accepted the accounts of doctors in the hospital that Mrs Ginnett’s heart problems presented difficulties in operating on her with a view to improving her condition.
It was only in a post mortem examination that her lung cancer was discovered.
Ms Hill said: “The evidence that I have heard shows that Mrs Ginnett did have a complicated medical history with a range of conditions that have proved relevant to her cause of death.
“I accept the evidence of the post mortem that although Mrs Ginnett did suffer a fall, and that caused a moderate degree of head injury, that alone did not lead to her death.”