Settlement obtained for mother after son took his own life

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Kate Smith, a medical negligence lawyer at Ashtons Legal has obtained a settlement for Mrs D who lost her son after he took his own life.

Mr D was known to the mental health services of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust from 2013. In April 2016 he was detained under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 where he remained until his discharge in mid-May 2016.

Between June and December 2016 Mr D cancelled six appointments with his care coordinator. In January 2017 Mr D attended an appointment with a Consultant Psychiatrist asking that his medication be reduced.

In March 2017, Mr D’s mother and a family friend raised serious concerns with his care coordinator that his mental health was deteriorating, he was becoming withdrawn and that he had told them he had stopped taking his medication for the previous six months. Despite the concerns raised, the lack of engagement with his care coordinator and Mr D’s deteriorating behaviour, it was decided by the mental health services that a mental health act assessment was not necessary.

Sadly, Mr D took his own life in March 2017.

Kate comments: “Sadly, Mr D’s story is not an uncommon case that we receive at Ashtons. As with treatment we receive for physical injuries, it is essential that treatment for mental health is held to a high standard. When a life is lost and the treatment provided is in question, this should be challenged and investigated to ensure that families get answers and any concerns are addressed. Although a settlement cannot give Mrs D the one thing she wants, it has brought a form of closure that she may not have obtained had they not pursued a claim against the Trust.”


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