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Posted on 17th July 2019

Man Given Unescorted Leave From Mental Health Unit Dies Two Days Later

A 31-year-old man has died from a drug overdose, just two days after leaving a secure mental health unit unescorted. The patient had a long history of mental illness. The patient left the mental health inpatient unit at Blackberry Hill Hospital, unescorted. Just two days later he was found in a friend’s flat after dying from a drug overdose.

The post-mortem found that the cause of death was combined drug intoxication from a mixture of illegal substances.

An inquest into the man’s death found that the patient’s father had raised concerns that his son was too soon in his recovery to be allowed out unescorted. The father of the patient urged the hospital to closely monitor his son. However, the patient put in the leave request and the mental health staff accepted his request.

During the inquest, it found that the mental health staff did not consider the type of leave the patient had requested in the light of the changes to his medication and several other factors. The jury ruled that it was inappropriate for the patient to be allowed to leave the mental health unit unescorted.

A year before the patient’s death, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was transferred from prison to a psychiatric care facility for treatment. He was then moved to Blackberry Hill Hospital, where he was responding to the medication and treatment he needed. However, he then absconded from the hospital three times. During these occasions, he was taking illegal substances and drinking alcohol. He also experienced self-harm, hallucinations and angry outbursts.

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