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Hospital mental healthcare failings after preventable suicide in A&E ward

Posted in: Medical Negligence Wrongful & Accidental Death 

Royal Blackburn Hospital has been found to have been not “appropriately managed” following an investigation carried out by coroner Michael Singleton into the suicide of 42 year old Jackie Williams in January of this year. Mrs Williams was admitted to the hospital on the 27th of January where she was later found hanged in a closed room in the Accident and Emergency ward. 

Mrs Williams had been found unconscious and intoxicated on a tow path of a canal in Burnley on the 26th of January.  It is claimed that the Accident and Emergency staff on duty on the evening in question were aware of the patient’s suicidal thoughts, however were not instructed to keep the cubicle door open and keep a watchful eye on the patient.

“no effective referral”

Mr Singleton, the Blackburn Coroner, stated that Mrs Williams had been given the opportunity to act upon her suicidal thoughts by being placed in a room with potential ligatures and ligature points. He stated that Mrs Williams had “no effective referral” to the liaison team dealing with patients with mental health, and that communications between nursing staff and mental health staff were lacking. The fact that Mrs Williams was left alone in her cubicle with the means to end her life, coupled with the lack of referral to an appropriate specialist, was instrumental in her death.

Upon the delivery of the inquest outcome, Mrs William’s widower, Wayne, was asked if he was satisfied with the outcome. He replied that he was not. 

If you have had reason to question the medical care of yourself or a loved one in Accident and Emergency, and are looking to claim compensation, please contact us.


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