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Mother: 'hospital failed to protect my suicidal son'.


A MOTHER has claimed a hospital failed to protect her son by allowing him to kill himself just moments after a suicide watch was relaxed.

David Anthony Jones - known as Anthony to his family - was found dead while a patient on Bryn Gofal ward at Prince Philip Hospital, in Llanelli, on September 20, 2010. He had hanged himself using the strap from his sports bag.

Mr Jones, 33, was admitted voluntarily to hospital as the result of suicidal thoughts and actions - he had planned to poison himself with carbon monoxide by burning charcoal in a sealed room.

The former electronics engineer was initially put on 15-minute observations after being admitted on September 17. But a junior doctor and nursing staff decided to change to hourly checks three days later after deciding his mental state had improved.

They did not check the decision with senior doctor and psychiatrist Dr Sirwan Abdul, although he told the inquest he believed Mr Jones was no longer planning to kill himself because he could not access or create the poisonous gas carbon monoxide while in hospital.

But a day before his tragic death, another member of staff had noted that Mr Jones "seriously thought about suicide but didn't know whether he would go through with it".

In a written statement, read to the inquest in Llanelli yesterday, Mrs Jones said: "The ward failed to ensure Anthony was not exposed to risks to his health and they failed to provide a safe environment. Our beautiful son was given every opportunity to hang himself while the balance of his mind was compromised by his illness. He would still be alive now if he had been sectioned or the suicide watch hadn't changed."

Mr Jones, who had a masters degree from Cardiff University, had suffered from depression for six years before his death.

He had twice been admitted to Bryn Gofal ward in June 2010, following an incident at his family home in Llangennech, and after he was picked up by police officers in Cardiff. He was discharged in August. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia during his second admission, much to his distress, but community psychiatrist Dr Komaleswaran Lingeswaran diagnosed him with psychotic depression and changed his medication on September 14, six days before he was admitted to hospital as a suicidal patient.

Giving evidence to the inquest, Dr Abdul, the consultant psychiatrist on Bryn Gofal ward, recalled a meeting with Mr Jones some two hours before his death.

"He spoke openly about his thoughts of suicide prior to admission and researching means to do it on the internet. He was only interested in carbon monoxide poisoning."

This information was shared with the doctor and nursing staff who decided to change the 15-minute observations, without consulting Dr Abdul, which was considered to be good practice.

When Mr Jones' room was checked at 1pm, healthcare support worker Jill Williams discovered him hanging. The inquest continues
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 17, 2012
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