December 9 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 6, 2013
A hospital worker arrested on suspicion of murder after a patient died after an alleged drugs overdose has been released on bail by police.
Detectives are investigating the death of a man at the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston.
James May, 76, from Great Yarmouth, died at the hospital in the early hours of Friday, September 20.
Mr May, who was known as Jimmy, was a divorcee, lived alone and was a retired driving instructor.
He had been admitted to hospital the evening before (Thursday, September 19).
The hospital subsequently reported an allegation of medical malpractice in connection with his death to police on Monday, September 30.
The death is being treated as suspicious and an investigation, led by the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, is currently underway.
This morning (Saturday) a member of the hospital’s medical staff, a middle-aged man, was arrested by officers on suspicion of murder.
He came to speak with police detectives by appointment and was kept in custody at an unnamed police station in Norfolk until this evening, when he was released on bail.
Senior investigating officer detective chief inspector Paul Durham said: “We are investigating an allegation that a drugs overdose was administered to a patient, leading to his death.
“A Home Office post-mortem, carried out earlier this week, determined the cause of Mr May’s death as heart failure and we now await the results of further toxicology tests which will help inform our inquiry.
“We understand that this news may generate concern and it’s important for us to underline that our investigation, which is still at an early stage, is based on a single report of an isolated incident and that the hospital trust is co-operating fully with the investigation.”
The Home Office post-mortem examination was carried out at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) on Wednesday, October 2.
Mr May’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by police family liaison officers.
Christine Allen, chief executive of the JPH, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of this patient at what is a very difficult time.”
“Our priority is patient safety and we understand that this news will cause concern. At this time, we believe it is an isolated incident and relates to the alleged action of a single member of staff.
“The member of staff against whom the allegation has been made is absent from the trust and will not return until the investigation is completed.”
“Throughout this difficult period, the JPH will continue to provide the best possible care to our patients and we are fully co-operating with the police.”
In a written tribute to this paper, three people describing Mr May as a “neighbour and very good friend” expressed their sadness.
They wrote: “You were one in a million and will be sadly missed. Sleep peacefully.”
The arrested hospital worker has been released on bail until an unascertained date in November while the police investigation continues.
Anyone with any concerns or who may wish to speak to an officer with information in relation to the inquiry can contact the Major Investigation Team on 01953 424533 or 424528.
The lines will be open between 9am and 5pm and all calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.