An elderly woman has died from hypothermia after telling her doctor that she “couldn’t afford heating” in her home.
Barbara Bolton, 87, was admitted to Fairfield Hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester, with the condition, as well as a chest infection, but passed away on January 5.
Energy prices have soared over the last few months, and couple with the huge inflation that the country has been experiencing, the UK has been gripped by a cost of living crisis.
Police Coroner’s Officer, Jane Scullion, told the hearing that the doctor said the pensioner’s illness was “related to her not being able to afford heating”.
She continued: “Barbara was admitted to hospital on December 11, 2022, with hypothermia, and a chest infection. She was referred to hospital by her GP who said this was related to her not being able to afford her heating.
“During that time she continued to deteriorate. After a discussion she was placed on end of life care and passed away.”
Julie Mitchell, the Assistant Coroner for Manchester North, said: “[Barbara’s] death was particularly accelerated 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.”
Barbara’s son Mark told Manchester Evening News: “We were in contact with her every day and saw her and spoke to her. We have to deal with the sad loss now and it’s very hard for me and my family.”
Hypothermia is when a person’s body temperature drops below 35C, and is caused by prolonged exposure to cold.
The condition requires immediate medical treatment or can be fatal.
Neighbours have spoken of their shock and sadness at Barbara’s passing.
One man said: “I think Barbara must have lived here about 50 years. I know that she was working at the chemist in Tesco until fairly recently. It’s so sad.”
Another woman said: “I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks. It’s so sad. She was a really nice woman and lived here for years but more recently kept herself to herself.”
A full inquest, which will explore the circumstances which led to Ms Bolton’s death, will take place at Rochdale Coroner’s Court later this year.