An elderly woman died after refusing to put her heating on due to her worrying about not being able to afford her heating bill, an inquest has heard.

Barbara Bolton was 87 years old when she died at Fairfield Hospital earlier this year after being found unresponsive at her home on Dawson Street in Bury last December.

An inquest, held at Rochdale Coroner’s Court, heard that Ms Bolton was in good health and didn’t retire from her job as a pharmacy assistant until she was 82.

Her son, Mark Bolton, gave a statement which described Radcliffe-born Barbara, as a big Manchester City fan who "loved the banter of being around people" which is why she stayed working for so long.

He said that she would not  ever say she felt unwell, and she was a very private lady who was selective with the information she would pass onto her family.

At 87, she started to show signs of age and suffered from sciatica and vascular disease however this was not anything to cause concern.

Her family often told Ms Bolton not to worry about putting the heating on and they bought some heaters for her which she would sometimes use.

Mark said: “We wouldn’t know if she would turn them off when we left.

“She also had a gas fire which she would also use when people came round.”

On December 11 2022, Mark's cousin tried to phone Ms Bolton, but he could not get through to her, Mark's wife and his son went round and found her at her kitchen table unresponsive.

They phoned an ambulance and wrapped her in quilts whilst they waited for the ambulance, who came and took her to Fairfield Hospital.

Barbara’s temperature was recorded as 28C and she became confused in hospital.

Dr Younis, Barbara's GP from Ribblesdale Medical Practice said that Ms Bolton had peripheral vascular disease from 2014 and hypertension from 1994.

He said: “She was not a lady for attending the GP.”

Dr Ansari from the Northern Care Alliance said: “Barbara was admitted to hospital on December 11 2022 at 5.54pm and was categorised as an amber alert after being found slumped at home.”

She had a slight facial droop on her left side but a CT scan showed that there were no signs of a stroke.

He said he was told that Ms Bolton was deliberately not turning on her heating due to high energy bills and he diagnosed her with profound hyperthermia.

His statement added: “Barbara was worried that she may not be able to pay her bills and she didn’t feel like she needed the heating on.

“Her family members offered her their help however she did what she thought was best for her.”

Barbara developed hospital acquired pneumonia and continued to deteriorate and become more confused throughout December where she remained in hospital.

In the new year she was put on end-of-life treatment and all active treatment was stopped.

Barbara Bolton died on January 5 2023 at 6.15pm.

Her cause of death was recorded to be hypothermia, hospital acquired pneumonia, prolonged immobility and vascular dementia.

Son Mark said: “Fairfield Hospital’s care was brilliant, and they did the best for her.

“She was very stubborn and very proud; it was her way or no way with my mum.”

Senior Coroner Joanne Kearsley said: “It’s clear how much as a family you cared and looked after your mum.

“But no matter what anyone told her she wouldn’t do anything differently.

“She put up quite a fight from December 11 to January 5.”

Ms Kearsley recorded Barbara’s death as misadventure as it was not an accident that she did not put her heating on but she did not intend that this choice would end her life.

Ms Kearsley added: “She’s clearly become fixated with the worry of putting heating on no matter what anyone would say for her.

“But to still be working at 82 shows she was quite a remarkable woman.”

She gave her condolences to the family.

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