NHS pays out over ‘cry for help’ patient they let down

Nick Janney
Nick Janney
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A FAMILY has won a pay-out over failings in the care of a father-of-one from Yorkshire who took his life after a battle with depression and alcoholism.

Mark Janney, of Bridlington, died aged 41 after three times being discharged from hospitals in the fortnight before his death, twice after taking overdoses of drugs he was taking to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Mr Janney sought help from the A&E unit at Scarborough Hospital.

Mr Janney sought help from the A&E unit at Scarborough Hospital.

On the third occasion, he was taken from his flat after police forced their way in finding him trying to hang himself.

His family have received £14,000 in compensation after receiving apologies from two NHS trusts which dealt with him.

His brother Nick, 49, also from the town, claimed he was “badly let down” and he did not want other families to experience the same problems.

“He worked hard all his life and they let him down right at the end when he needed help most,” he said.

“They should have done more for him. Mark had clearly tried to seek help, but was turned away by mental health officials three times. I want to get justice for my brother and I want to try and do my best so no other family has to go through this.

“None of us in his family had a clue. He was a proud lad. He hid it so well. It’s the type of lad he was. He was trying to seek help through official channels and they didn’t want to know.”

The 41-year-old steel erector first sought help at the A&E unit at Scarborough’s hospital on May 21, 2011, after overdosing on medication.

He was seen and assessed by the local crisis team the following day, who concluded there was no further evidence of suicidal intent and recommended that he be referred to the Bridlington crisis team and have a home visit by a GP.

But a day later, police forced their way into his flat after his partner received a number of concerning text messages.

Police called mental health specialists in Bridlington but he was not admitted for assessment and was instead seen in the minor injuries unit.

Six days later, he was taken to hospital in Scarborough having again taken an overdose of his medication, and drunk a large amount of vodka.

He told staff it was an “impulsive act” and he was again discharged home before taking his own life on June 6.

Humber NHS trust and Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS trust, which solicitors for the family say has accepted liability for his death, and agreed to compensate the family, have apologised.

Nicola Evans, assistant solicitor at medical negligence specialists Neil Hudgell Solicitors, said lessons must be learned from failings in the case.

She said: “He made a cry for help but didn’t get it.

“To this day, his family find it hard to understand how a man known by medical professionals to be battling depression and alcoholism can be discharged home on two occasions after making attempts on his own life.

“Clearly, this should never have been the case, and opportunities were missed to protect Mr Janney from self harm.

“Mr Janney was clearly trying to get his life back in order.

“Had appropriate support been provided, he may well have been able to do just that.”

Although he was unemployed at the time of his death, Mr Janney had previously helped to build the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.

The majority of the £14,000 compensation will go to Mr Janney’s 14-year-old son.

David Hill, chief executive at Humber NHS trust, said: “Mr Janney’s death is a personal tragedy for his loved ones and we offer our apologies again to his family for our part in the failings identified in his care.”

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS trust said: “We would like to reiterate how very sorry we are that Mr Janney did not receive the appropriate treatment whilst in our care.”