Mental health hospital investigated following two teenage deaths

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An independent investigation into the failings of a mental health hospital in Middlesbrough has begun after two teenage girls died within two months of each other whilst under their care.

Christie Harnett and Nadia Sharif, both 17, died last summer whilst they were patients of West Lane Hospital.

Following their deaths, the impatient wards were closed and 20 members of staff were suspended. The Care Quality Commission concluded that patients at the hospital were at high risk of “avoidable harm”.

The inquiry will include interviews of patients, their families and staff members. One previous patient of the hospital said she had felt like a “caged animal” whilst being treated there.

The Trust involved has apologised to the families of the two girls for the inadequate care they received.

Michele Benjamin, a chartered legal executive in the medical negligence team at Ashtons Legal comments: “It’s tragic that the Trust have failed in their duty of care to protect their patients which has led to its closure. Two teenagers should not have had to die in the hands of this hospital – a place where they were meant to be safe. The fact that this hospital has been closed down shows the extent of the troubles this hospital was in and demonstrates the need for reforms in general with mental hospitals like these. Unfortunately, we are receiving more and more cases whereby negligent care has led to the death of mental health patients, and in many cases, their deaths could have been avoided.”

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