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Posted on 10th November 2017

Patient Set Herself On Fire On A Mental Health Ward

A 56 year old woman with a history of burning herself died in a Peterborough hospital after setting herself on fire with a cigarette lighter.

The patient was found by staff, engulfed in flames in her bedroom’s en-suite bathroom. It has been established that she used a cigarette lighter in her bag.

The trust in charge of the patient’s wellbeing have accepted that staff should have checked her belongings more thoroughly and they say they have strengthened their processes around conducting searches of patients belongings as a result.

The solicitor acting for the family commented “The simple fact is that if [the patient] had not had access to a lighter then it is likely that she would be here today” he also confirmed he would be asking for NHS Improvement to consider wider safety measures.


Clinical negligence compensation claims on the subject of mental health failings are extremely difficult cases to investigate. Negligence Claimline is regularly contacted by patients who have just been diagnosed with a mental illness despite having symptoms for many years.

Unfortunately, when going through our processes in assessing the information, often we find that although there may have been a breach of duty, causation cannot be satisfied and therefore a compensation claim for medical negligence cannot succeed.

This case however is very different, this compensation claim does have a breach of duty and it also has a causation element to it which is why this compensation claim may be a successful one.

If you think that you have had a medical condition and that condition has become worse or caused a further injury because medical staff have failed to provide the correct treatment, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim. 

Contact us on 0330 355 9210 or for a free claim assessment.