A well-known B&B owner who was injured in a car crash was sent home by doctors just days before she died, an inquest heard.
Ann Rowland died on Christmas Day last year almost two weeks after the crash, which happened 135 metres from her Ashford-in-the-Water home.
The 73-year-old, who ran a Vicarage Lane B&B with her husband Stuart, was leaving home for a hair appointment on December 13 and jumped into her husband’s Honda 4x4 instead of her own car because of the slippery road conditions.
But shortly after, she crashed into a lamppost, a grit bin and a dry stone wall.
Police forensic collision investigator Pc David Pygot told Chesterfield Coroners’ Court on Friday that a likely case of ‘Spontaneous Acceleration Syndrome’ could have caused her to speed up to around 40 mph before the impact.
He said: “We don’t believe weather conditions had any significant affect. Ann was used to her automatic BMW, and may have inadvertently pressed the accelerator instead of the break as she went down the hill - a recognised phenomenon particularly among older people.”
Mrs Rowland was air-lifted to Sheffield Northern General Hospital where she was treated for the ‘normal injuries’ of a minor crash, including bruising, fractured ribs and a cracked sternum. She returned home on December 18.
The hearing was told that she was ‘breathing quite normally’ for the first ‘two or three days’ after leaving hospital and appeared to be ‘back to her normal self’.
But on Christmas Eve she complained of having trouble breathing and returned to hospital the following day and died due to a significant amount of fluid in her lungs.
Case leader Det Con Gary Wilson said it was highly unusual for a collision like this to be life-changing or life-altering so many days after the initial incident.
He added: “Ninety-nine per cent of the time fatalities are at the site or straight after.”
Forensic pathologists determined the cause of death to be a blood clot, which moved to the lungs causing breathing issues and leading to the build-up of blood in the lungs.
John Edwards, cardiothoracic surgeon at Northern General Hospital, said doctors had weighed up the risks of administering larger doses of anticoagulants against those of thinning her blood too much, and confirmed she was given stockings to prevent deep vein thrombosis
He added: “Doctors treated Ann conservatively because her fractures didn’t need surgery. Giving more drugs to thin the blood would have been very dangerous. The chance of a clot occurring after discharge would have been low.
“We have to consider the risk of a clot versus the risk of fatal bleeding.”
Assistant Coroner for Derbyshire, James Newman, recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying: “Ann died as a result of an accident. Although she died of natural causes there is a clear link between the injuries and the cause of death.”
Her family highlighted the amazing care she was given at Northern General Hospital, with her husband Stuart telling the hearing: “The care that she got was second to none, we have no doubt about that.”