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RJW serious injury solicitor’s help widow after husband dies in fatal accident

20 November 2009

We helped the widow of a police sergeant who committed suicide whilst being treated at Woodlands Psychiatric Unit. The Psychiatric Unit failed to prevent the deaths of two people, both of which were also suicidal cases. Our client’s husband hanged himself with his own belt following his admission to the Psychiatric Unit after suffering a psychotic episode whilst he was on holiday with his family. He had no previous history of psychiatric illness but in recent months had started suffering from anxiety. Whilst on his holiday he became increasingly upset and agitated causing him to be sectioned for his own protection. Shortly after his admittance, he tragically hanged himself. A few months later a second man was also found hanged in the same Psychiatric Unit, where the Trust that runs the Unit was prompted to launch an investigation into the deaths. An inquest was held that provided some answers to the questions that arose surrounding the circumstances of Police Sergeant’s death. It was strongly believed that lack of duty care failures in the Psychiatric Unit had a direct result on the Sergeant’s death. Despite his status as high risk, he was placed in a room with easily accessible ligature points and staff failed to remove his belt. In addition, he was supposed to be on a 15 minute suicide watch but when found unconscious, medical staff said he may have been without oxygen for up to 30 minutes. This clearly indicated that the 15 minute checks were not being observed, causing the Psychiatric Unit to close, allowing the Trust to review the guidelines on safety and security.