Better Care for Mental Health Patients Demanded After The Tragic Death of Carol Vaughan
Julie Hardy has fought hard for justice for Carol’s family. The widely reported verdict of Mairin Casey has vindicated the family whose dignity at the Inquest was recognised by the Coroner. We supported Carol Vaughan’s family at the Inquest into her death. The Inquest heard that there were many failings at the Millbrook Psychiatric Unit in Mansfield. At the Inquest, Carol’s daughter, Karen, described her mother as well and happy until 6 months before her death when Carol’s bi-polar disorder became more difficult to control. Carol agreed to be looked after at the Millbrook Unit because she had suffered episodes of self-harm and violent behaviour,
By January 2014, Carol had already managed to leave the Unit on more than one occasion. After one incident, Carol was found by a dual carriageway. Then, on 2nd December 2013, Carol left the Unit and made her way to a nearby reservoir. It was only thanks to a passer-by that Carol was found on this occasion. The family raised their concerns that Carol was vulnerable and at risk. The Unit put a protocol in place that demanded 15 minute observations to ensure her safety but she was still able to abscond. On the night of Carol’s death, staff did not notice that she had disappeared for some time. They eventually contacted her family and Karen, her partner, and a police officer searched together. Tragically, they came across Carol’s body floating face down in the reservoir.
The outcome of the inquest
The Unit had not listened to the concerns of Carol’s family. The Coroner’s narrative verdict was scathing and she referred to the failings as “worrying”. She told the family that she would be contacting other Coroners around the country to identify any national failings. This verdict comes against a promise by the Government this week to improve care for mental health patients and prevent the high death rate found amongst psychiatric patients.
Karen and her family will never get over the loss of Carol, or the harrowing circumstances of finding her. However, they hope that a campaign to help other mentally ill patients will at least prevent other families going through the loss of a loved one. They are determined to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are safe.
For more information and to see Julie Hardy’s press release for BBC East Midlands, please copy the following link:
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