Cruise ship staff who tied up a woman and injected her with a sedative during a panic attack contributed to her death, a coroner ruled.
Marguerite Hayward became ill while staying in a £8,500 cruise ship suite with her husband Fred.
The 83-year-old woke on the Regent Seven Seas Cruises Explorer in the early hours of April 25, 2017 suffering from an 'delirium' linked to dementia.
Mr Hayward called reception and seven members of staff rushed to help.
When they arrived they bound her feet and hands with bathrobe cords before before giving her an anti-psychotic drug (chlorpromazine) was administered by the on-board nurse, under the supervision of the doctor.
Later that morning Marguerite had recovered from her delirium and – despite Mr Hayward's protests- the couple from Lavenham, Suffolk were asked to leave the six-star cruise ship in Sorrenton, Italy
The couple were later sent a £1,000 bill for the sedatives, reports the Eastern Daily Press .
Mrs Hayward was taken to Sorrento Marguerite and due to a shortage of beds Marguerite remained on a trolley for over 24 hours, the inquest heard.
After seven days in hospital she was flown back to the UK in an air ambulance and admitted to the West Suffolk Hospital.
She was transferred to Glastonbury Court Nursing Home and diagnosed with 'delirium on a background of dementia' on May 5.
Her mental state did not improve during this time and her mobility 'deteriorated significantly,' the inquest heard.
On July 29, three months after she fell ill, Mrs Hayward died at Glastonbury Court care home.
Following her death an inquest was launched at Suffolk Coroners' Court which found that the "sequence of events which started on the ship, and the treatment which she received overseas, had a cumulative and contributing effect on her death."
Senior Coroner Nigel Parsley said: "On a balance of probability basis, I find that the nature of the treatment Marguerite received initially on board the Severn Sea’s Explorer contributed to her acute episode of delirium at that time.
"On a balance of probability basis, I find that the nature of the treatment Marguerite received once ashore in Italy also contributed to her ongoing delirium both whilst in Italy itself and upon her return to the UK. It also contributed to the development of her pressure sores.
"It is my belief that the sequence of events which started in the early hours of the morning of the 25th April 2017 had a cumulative and contributing effect to Marguerites death.
"The delirium, sacral sores and general loss of physical reserves, contributed to her immobility which predisposed her to be at greater risk of succumbing to naturally occurring disease."
Recording a narrative verdict, Senior Coroner Parsley said it was an understandable decision to remove Marguerite from the ship.
But he said the onset of her delirium was “contributed to by the nature of the treatment she received while overseas”.
He said: "Marguerite Hayward died from the acute aspiration of gastric contents.
"This was an agonal event predicated by a naturally occurring disease or condition caused by a protracted period of immobility.
"Marguerite’s immobility was the direct result of her delirium.
"The onset of Marguerites delirium occurred on the 25th April 2017 and was contribute to by the nature of the treatment she received whilst overseas between the 25th April 2017 and the 2nd May 2017.
"The exact cause of Marguerites initial episode of acute delirium on the 25th April 2017 could not be ascertained on the available evidence."
Mr Hayward died in February at the age of 89.
"We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Hayward family," a spokesperson for the cruise company told The Telegraph.
"We support the coroner's conclusion that the decision to medically disembark Mrs Hayward to receive further medical attention was correct and that no criticism was made of our staff's conduct in this very sad and difficult situation."
The Hayward family do not appear ready to let the issue settle however.
In a statement they said: "It’s clear from the coroner’s verdict that the way my mother was treated after her panic attack led to a catastrophic chain of events resulting in her painful and premature death.
"We don’t believe this issue is yet resolved.”
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