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Hospital admits failings over death

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Two NHS trusts have admitted to failings that resulted in the death of 34-year-old Simon Willson.  The father of two was found hanging in a hospital toilet after being transferred out of A&E – having waited four hours – without being seen by a mental health professional. It was found that this was in an attempt to meet the hospital’s targets.

Mr Willson was admitted to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in January 2010 after taking a serious drug overdose. He was first referred to Canterbury’s mental health services – managed by Kent and Medway Social Care Partnership Trust – in March 2008. 

He was initially referred due to a serious drug and alcohol abuse problem, which resulted in the breakdown of his marriage, the loss of his job and multiple suicide attempts. Following his death, the hospital and mental health trusts have admitted to failings in his care.  His widow, Melanie, said: “He so desperately wanted to get better and was looking for help but simply did not get it.

‘Pleading to be sectioned’

On the morning of his death, 23 January 2010, Mr Willson had travelled to the Canterbury police station pleading to be sectioned.  He was immediately taken to St Martin’s Hospital but was discharged shortly after.  Mr Willson took a drug overdose upon returning home, after which he was taken to Kent and Canterbury Hospital where he was transferred out of the A&E department hours after arriving. He then locked himself in a disabled toilet and took his life.

The litigation authority said that the trust’s handling of Mr Willson’s case was “unacceptable”.

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