High Court victory for daughter after mother’s suicide

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The daughter of a woman who escaped from a hospital and committed suicide has successfully sued the NHS trust responsible for her care for negligence.

Carol Savage, 50, was detained under the Mental Health Act at Runwell Hospital in Essex, but died in July 2004 after leaving her bed and jumping in front of a train in Wickford.

Her daughter Anna launched a compensation claim against South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, alleging that it had failed to protect the vulnerable patient.

Now, Mr Justice Mackay at London’s High Court has ruled that the trust violated Carol Savage’s right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention.

Anna Savage is to be awarded £10,000 in compensation for her loss as part of the landmark ruling.

“We hope that, by bringing the case, it will improve the care that other patients receive and that they will not have to go through the pain we have suffered,” said Carol Savage’s sister Linda Butler.

Sharon Allison, a clinical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, comments: “We are receiving a number of clinical negligence enquiries where the claimant does not fall under the conventional categories of persons entitled to claim.

“In these cases we have pursued litigation under the Human Rights Act and have been successful in a number of cases. The Human Rights Act does provide an avenue to pursue for families of victims of a medical accident, who otherwise would not be able to make a claim. This is an important step forward in access to justice”.

According to the Office for National Statistics, suicide rates in the UK fell to their lowest levels since 1991 in 2007.


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