Patient found hanged at Norwich clinic had been at low risk of self-harm, inquest told
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 24 July 2018
A patient who hanged himself at a secure mental health facility had been considered a low risk of self-harm and suicide, an inquest has heard.
James Dent, 28, was found in his room at the Norvic Clinic, St Andrews Business Park on November 29 2017.
His medical cause of death was given as hanging.
An inquest into the death of Mr Dent was opened yesterday in Norwich.
The four men and three women in the inquest jury heard Mr Dent had been diagnosed with a mental illness and had spent most of his life in secure mental health units from the age of 17.
Mr Dent, who had been at the Norvic Clinic for the last two years of his life, had been on Catton Ward at the time of his death.
The inquest, held at Carrow House, on King Street, heard Mr Dent had not taken anti-psychotic medication for five days before his death.
Mr Dent had been considered as a “low risk” of suicide and so was on hourly observations at the unit - the minimum required - rather than more frequent checks for those patients considered higher risk.
Concerns were raised at the inquest by his family about Mr Dent not being given medication and that he had “access to the tools to kill himself”.
A statement by Angela Bennett, Mr Dent’s mother, said they had “several” concerns regarding his care.
She said: “I don’t understand how or why he had access to the tools to kill himself.”
Mr Dent’s mother said that access came “despite the fact it was clear that his mental and physical health had deteriorated significantly in the last few months of his life”.
She also raised concerns about his “significant” weight loss, not taking his medication prior to his death and only being checked hourly.
Giving evidence, Simon Mason, ward manager for Catton Ward, at the Norvic Clinic, said Mr Dent, whose weight had “fluctuated” was on hourly observations because he was considered to be “at low risk of suicide and self-harm”.
Regarding the items in his room, Mr Mason said: “There was no reason why he couldn’t have a desk and a chair in his room.
“He was regarded as low risk at that time.”
The inquest continues.