Family of disabled woman trapped in Thames vow to fight for the truth

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Family trauma: Kelly Madarasz was in the river for 20 minutes Family trauma: Kelly Madarasz was in the river for 20 minutes

The family of a disabled woman who fell in the Thames in Twickenham have promised to continue their fight for the truth.

Andrew Furniss, 41, said his stepdaughter Kelly Madarasz, 25, was nearly sent home from West Middlesex Hospital with life-threatening injuries earlier this month.

Miss Madarasz, a resident at Roy Kinnear House care home, suffers from terminal Rett syndrome, which prevents her from speaking and renders her virtually immobile.

On December 4 at about 12.30pm, she fell into the Thames for 20 minutes in a heavily-strapped wheelchair while being pushed by her carer along the riverside in Radnor Gardens, near Cross Deep.

She suffered head injuries, cuts, bruises and blood poisoning and was taken to West Middlesex Hospital where she spent several days in intensive care after her mother, Edit, questioned a doctor’s decision to discharge her.

Mr Furniss, who lives in Hackney, said: “It was the doctor who told Kelly’s mother that she was good to go.

“We got there around 3pm and Kelly had sustained serious injuries but it took her mother to request a CT scan, which the doctor reluctantly did, to realise something was wrong.

“By 10pm a second doctor, who was brilliant, came to us and said there was a problem with her cheek.

“We have been treated well since then but it was the initial reaction from accident and emergency that left a really nasty taste in the mouth.

“The initial diagnosis, that her injuries were not life-threatening, was so far wide of the mark.”

A spokesman for the hospital apologised for the response to Miss Madarasz’s injuries and said the hospital was investigating the family’s formal complaint.

The spokesman said: “We are very sorry that our initial care of Kelly Madarasz was not managed in such a way that maintained the confidence of her family.

“However we do feel that her treatment as a whole has been appropriate.”

An independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is also being carried out.

Mr Furniss added: “We want to know what happened with the carer and what happened when she got to A&E.

“These things could have killed her and we could be arranging her funeral right now - we don’t want any cover-ups with this, we have to know the truth.”

The family were told that the wheelchair hit a bump and fell down the bank, into the river sideways.

Miss Madarasz is still recovering in hospital after being stuck in the water for 20 minutes, at one point submerged.

Her carer jumped in to help rescue her, as did a passing dog walker who Mr Furniss said the family hoped to meet and thank.

Teddington RNLI was scrambled as well as police and about 30 firefighters on the scene.

Steven Rose, chief executive of Choice Support, which operates Roy Kinnear House care home, said: “We’re deeply sorry that Kelly and her family have been through such a traumatic experience. 

“Immediately after the incident we contacted the safeguarding team at the Richmond so they could begin a thorough independent investigation. 

“We’re helping that investigation in any way possible along with the emergency services who attended the scene.”

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