Barbara Samuels died trapped in her home – because it took Arun District Council 18 months to get round to putting a ramp on her home
A double-amputee died ‘a prisoner in her own home’ after her pleas for a disabled ramp were met with council delays for a year.
Arun District Council apologised for their inaction after family claimed Barbara Samuels died trapped in her home .
But her son Robert Samuels said she died ‘without hope’ because of the delays.
Barbara left hospital in February last year, ten months after she had both legs amputated and was forced to wait almost six months before the council built her the makeshift ramp.
Footage, filmed by her family, shows how hard the 76-year-old found it to use the temporary structure.
Robert, 46, said: “All she wanted was that ramp. It makes me so angry to think they can get away with this.
“She had no hope; they didn’t give her any.”
Barbara had to use planks of wood to get out of her home for five months after she was discharged – but fell off several times and injured herself.
The diabetes sufferer was reduced to washing in a basin at her home in Littlehampton, West Sussex, because she could not use the bath and struggled to cook because the kitchen surfaces were too high.
Barbara had to use planks of wood to get out of her home for five months after she was discharged (Image: SWNS)
In August, West Sussex County Council installed a temporary ramp – but it was still too narrow and Barbara continued to suffer falls.
Her house had been earmarked for wheelchair-friendly renovations in January, but this was delayed.
The former silver service caterer was approved for a disabled facilities grant to fund the adaptations, but died last Saturday.
Louisa Light, 65, noticed her friend ‘going downhill’ in her final weeks, and kept calling her ‘wanting to die’ before she passed away from heart failure.
Barbara and her friend Louisa Light (Image: James Butler / SWNS.com)
Louisa, from Worthing, said: “I have never seen a woman change so much in two months.
“She would still be here if they gave her that ramp.”
A council spokesman said: “We were saddened to hear of the death of Mrs Samuels and we send our sincere condolences to her family.
“Arun District Council has been working closely with partner agencies including West Sussex County Council (WSCC), Places for People Housing Association, Occupational Therapists and Amber Living to ensure that Mrs Samuels’ home received the adaptations required, and this process was underway.
“We are aware that the process for disabled facilities grants is a lengthy one and there are lots of stages that must be adhered to before works can begin.
“We are sorry that this case took some time to progress as it was a complex situation and it was vital to ensure the final adaptations to the home met Mrs Samuels’s needs.”
Barbara’s son Robert and friend Louisa (pictured together) both feel that she was let down by the council (Image: Kate Shemilt / SWNS.com)
West Sussex County Council, which installed the temporary ramp, said: “We installed a temporary ramp to help Mrs Samuels access her home, with assistance, until a permanent solution could be arranged.
“We are aware that adapting a home to meet complex needs can take some time and we are working with our district and borough partners to find ways to improve this service.”