Hospital admits negligence in suicide of Peterborough woman

  • Posted

Posted 27/08/2012

A Peterborough man has received an apology and admission of negligence from a hospital after his wife’s suicide.

Sarah Latter, 39, of Kings Cliffe, took her life on 19 April 2010. She had suffered from depression in previous years and been treated successfully with antidepressant medication. But in February 2010, her symptoms recurred and did not respond to the antidepressant prescribed. Her medication was changed during a short voluntary stay in the Cavell Centre. 

Then during March and early April she made a number of attempts on her own life, all of which were prevented due to her husband Stephen’s presence and intervention.

Shortly before Sarah’s death, the Latters had been told by the ‘crisis team’ at the Edith Cavell Hospital that Sarah needed to take more responsibility for herself. Acting on this advice, Stephen left her alone for the afternoon of 19 April. Tragically, when he returned home a few hours later his wife had hanged herself.

Mr Latter brought a legal case against Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust for negligence. The case has now been settled and damages awarded. He had alleged that his wife Sarah would still be alive if it were not for failings in her mental health care.

Mr Latter’s legal case was managed by Sharon Allison, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal.  

“The mental health treatment offered to Sarah was woefully inadequate,” Sharon explains. “There were a number of occasions during the last five weeks of her life when the severity of Sarah’s depressive illness could and should have been recognised and appropriate action taken. We believe that with the right treatment she would still be with us today.”

Mr Latter added a statement: “I brought this case against the NHS Trust to ensure that they were forced to admit publically their gross negligence in respect of the mental health treatment provide to Sarah.

The treatment provided by the Trust was nothing short of a disgrace. Those directly involved, towards whom I feel great anger, should be ashamed of themselves for the part they played in Sarah’s suicide.

I can only hope that these people are no longer employed by the Trust so that others don’t suffer a similar fate at their hands. No apology or compensation will ever right this wrong doing.”


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