Bury: Woman who couldn’t afford heating died of hypothermia

Fairfield General Hospital

Barbara Bolton, 87, died at Fairfield Hospial on January 5 (Image: Google Street View)

An 87-year-old who “couldn’t afford” rising energy bills died of hypothermia, an inquest has found.

Paramedics in Manchester rushed to see Barbara Bolton, a popular widow and mother, on December 1.

She was admitted to Fairfield Hospital on December 11 with hypothermia and a chest infection and continued to deteriorate over time.

Her son Mark has spoken of his heartbreak after doctors and family decided to give her end-of-life care. The former pharmacist’s assistant died on January 5.

Hospital notes are understood to suggest her illness was related to not being able to afford to keep her heating on amid the cost of living crisis, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The inquest was adjourned, with testimonies being demanded of her doctor. A medical cause of death is still pending.

“Her death was particularly hastened by hypothermia and there is a possibility of self-neglect due to the lack of heating so her death has been referred to the coroner,” said Julie Mitchel, Manchester North Deputy Coroner.

Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature below 35°C and symptoms include tremors, pale, cold and dry skin, and slow breathing.

One possible cause is living in a cold house, with older people living alone being particularly at risk, says the NHS.

After the inquest, Ms Bolton’s son Mark said he “spoke to his mum every day”.

“We are now dealing with the sad loss and it is very difficult for me and my family,” he said.

Ms Bolton’s neighbors in Bury said they were shocked and saddened by her death and that she had lived there for several decades.

“I think Barbara must have lived here for about 50 years. I know she worked at the Tesco pharmacy until recently. It’s so sad,” said one man.

Another woman added: “I hadn’t seen her in a couple of weeks. It is so sad. She was a really nice woman and lived here for years but has kept to herself lately.’

A full inquest, which will examine the circumstances leading up to Ms Bolton’s death, will take place at Rochdale Coroners’ Court later this year.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/26/bury-woman-who-couldnt-afford-heating-died-after-getting-hypothermia-18168205/ Bury: Woman who couldn't afford heating died of hypothermia

Justin Scaccy

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