An inquest into the death of Patricia Butler (70) found that she died from injuries that occurred while trying to climb through the rear window of her house.
The elderly woman lived in the outskirts of Cork City and it is understood that she accidentally locked herself out of her house and caught her ankle and became trapped in a small window opening. She was suspended from the window for more than 36 hours.
The coroner heard that the woman was very fit and agile for her age. The incident happened at about 11am on August 19th, 2008. Several deliveries were made to the house while she was trapped in a window at the back of her house.
A neighbor called to the house the following night. She was concerned about her whereabouts as she had not answered the neighbor’s attempts to contact her.
The neighbour found a step ladder pitched against the window and saw Ms. Butler’s trapped foot. She called a local nurse who helped to lower the woman into the adjoining room.
According to the neighbour Ms. Butler was fully conscious and alert and her lips had turned blue.
She was rushed to Cork University Hospital were she was diagnosed with hypothermia.
Hospital staff reported that she was in a reasonable condition when she was admitted.
However the pensioner’s condition greatly deteriorated as a result of circulation problems caused by her 36 hour suspension.
A "cascade of tragic events" led to her death two days later. The muscle in her leg began to breakdown and due to the lack of blood flow, myoglobin was released into the blood stream and that caused kidney failure in the woman.
An autopsy report carried out by Dr. Margaret Bolster discovered that she had suffered a mild heart attack during her ordeal and attributed the death to prolonged suspension from the window.
The Cork City coroner said that the woman was "very strong in will and personallity" but said it was her "agility and stength of will that came against her in the circumstances."
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