Suicide case brought against London Mental HealthTrust settles

Settlement has now been reached with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust in a case in which we acted for the mother of a young lady who tragically took her own life in January 2010 when aged just 20 years.

The deceased suffered with mental health problems from her early teenage years and into adulthood.

Whilst the care she received as an adolescent was excellent, this standard was not maintained when she transferred to adult services.

When she was seen in the community, by a psychiatrist, just before Christmas of 2009, the letter of review, following on from the consultation, was not received by the deceased’s GP until after she had died.

The deceased took an overdose early in January 2010 and was admitted to hospital, then discharged.

She was referred to the Defendant Trust’s community based North Islington Crisis Response and Resolution Team.

The Crisis Team attended on her on a Sunday and Monday, missed an appointment on the Wednesday and saw the deceased alone, without her mother, on the Friday.

The action plan over the weekend that followed was for mum to be contacted to take a collateral history.

That plan was deleted, however, from a white board in the Trust offices.

On top of this, the deceased’s care, within the crisis team, was delegated to a junior psychiatrist.

There was a failure to properly assess the deceased including the level of risk she presented.

The Monday after the Friday when she was last seen by the crisis team, the deceased attempted to take her own life by hanging.

She was found by her mother and cut down but died the following day in hospital.

Nick Fairweather, who had conduct of the case, represented the family at the Inquest.

Thereafter proceedings were intimated, under the Clinical Negligence Pre Action Protocol, alleging wholesale failings in the care that the deceased received which caused her death.

A claim was brought on behalf of her estate for the effects of the historic failings in treatment, prior to her death.

Additionally, a claim was brought on behalf of her mother as a secondary victim.

The claim was settled, pre issue, without admissions of liability, for a sum just in excess of £45,000.

Nick Fairweather commented:-

“This is such a tragic case. Wholly avoidable mistakes were made with tragic and foreseeable consequences. I hope that the family can now reach some degree of closure through the resolution of the litigation and by having got answers to their questions and acknowledgement of the failings that occurred through this settlement.”

The deceased’s mother commented:-

“No amount of money will ever bring my daughter back. We all still miss her and think about her every day. I feel angry and saddened by the failings in the care that she received. I am pleased, however, that I stood up for her through these proceedings and hope she would be proud of me for doing so”.