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Dad took his own life after leaving hospital.

Byline: Clare Hutchinson

A FATHER OF TWO committed suicide days after discharging himself from hospital after a previous suicide attempt, an inquest heard.

Jamie Searle, 35, hanged himself at his family home in Llanishen, Cardiff, on December 28 last year, four days after he had walked out of Llandough Hospital, Cardiff.

The inquest heard Mr Searle, who had a history of depression, was admitted to the hospital's poisons unit on December 23 after taking an overdose.

But when the former waste manager told staff on December 24 that he wanted to leave, they were unable to stop him.

Mr Searle, who had suffered a relationship breakdown, returned to his former home in Morris Street, Llanishen, on December 28, while his estranged wife was out, and hanged himself.

Charge nurse Gareth Edgell admitted guidelines surrounding self-discharge had not been followed to the letter but said it would not have been possible to detain Mr Searle under the Mental Health Act because he had never been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

The inquest heard Mr Searle had not sought professional help for his depression, instead buying anti-depressants on the black market and taking steroids "because of the way they made him feel".

When asked if there had been any attempt to stop him leaving, Mr Edgell said one member of staff had asked him if he planned to hurt himself, but said the nurse had not documented the conversation.

He added: "I think the documentation was lacking; however, I would have to say I was not there to see for myself."

Family members told the inquest Mr Searle had earlier called them from a pay phone in the ward to say he did not know whose house he should go to.

Apologising to the family, Mr Edgell said guidelines around self-discharge had since been made more clear, with a flow chart showing what questions to ask being circulated to all staff.

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Mary Elizabeth Hassell said: "There are lots of things that didn't happen in a way they should have done, but I think the message I have got is that if everything had happened in the way it should have, he would still have been allowed to walk off that ward because he had capacity."

She added: "Having heard the evidence, I think he did intend to take his life, and when that wasn't successful he was admitted to hospital and later discharged himself, and he clearly had made his decisions.

"Clearlyin hismindheknew there was only one consequence to hanging himself and that consequence was that he was going to die."

A spokesman for Cardiff and Vale UHB said: "We would like to extend our sympathy to the family of Mr Searle at this very sad time. In common with our standard approach following incidents of this kind, we have reviewed our policies and procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 22, 2012
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