Clinical Negligence Article
09 May, 2022
Each time we consider a new 'suicide case' we know what failings to look for and the far reaching impact on the family left behind.
We see the same mistakes by the NHS and their private partners. Whilst researching another unnecessary death I came across a Sunday Times article highlighting the plight of 3 families separately claiming The Priory Hospital had contributed to the death of their loved ones.
There is no doubt that anyone seeking treatment, public or private for mental health is vulnerable and already suffering with a problem which requires treatment.
Each case I look at is fact specific, but common themes are identified.
Over the last 10 years The Priory has been investigated for substandard care in 30 cases.
When someone presents with serious mental health issues, it is essential that a clear medical history is obtained, previous suicide attempts considered and an accurate risk assessment obtained. The effect of alcohol and continuity of appropriate medications are issues that I have often seen overlooked. All too often there are shortcomings. A family can often provide a realistic picture when it is in the best interest of the patient for them to do so.
Inappropriate discharge is a common theme to the cases we see. The families we speak to provide clear instructions that they could not cope and are inadequately supported in the community. We have run cases where husbands/wives and their partners have lost their jobs as the symptoms of their loved ones deteriorate. They simply cannot cope, battling with changes in behaviour, threats to self-harm and of suicide often with no sleep, and without training. Sometimes this is whilst struggling family responsibilities for children or their own ill health. The pressure is enormous.
In our litigated cases we have seen all of the above allegations arise.
As we come out of the pandemic and depression and anxiety are widely identified, we hope that the services that people rely on learn from their previous mistakes and the impact of mental health is prioritised.
For more information contact Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.
Learn more about our Clinical Negligence department here