Coroner’s warning after Lowestoft father addicted to alcohol was discharged from hospital without support

PUBLISHED: 16:55 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 11 June 2019

London Road South, Lowestoft, where Justin Brown lived. Photo: Google

London Road South, Lowestoft, where Justin Brown lived. Photo: Google


A coroner has written to health bosses raising concerns that an alcoholic who died from diabetes complications was discharged from hospital without support in place.

Justin Brown, from Lowestoft, was found dead in his home in London Road South, on February 19, 2016.

At an inquest in March a jury found he died due to ketoacidosis, a complication related to the poor regulation of insulin in diabetics.

But this was overlaid by chronic alcohol abuse, which emphasised the effect of the illness.

Jacqueline Devonish, Area Coroner for Suffolk, has highlighted issues which may prevent future deaths.

In the report produced by Ms Devonish it said Mr Brown's sister Melodie Brown, who lived in London, called police concerned about her brother on February 18. Police went to his home but when they got no response on the intercom, they left, only to return the next day and find him dead.

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The report said Mr Brown had previously been in rehab and had been admitted to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston in a life-threatening condition in December 2015. When he was discharged he was referred to Turning Point, at the time the only drug and alcohol service available in Suffolk which could accept referrals from the JPUH.

The report said: "There was no direct means of communication with the service. In evidence, the court heard that the process for referrals was by a telephone message to an answerphone.

"There was no acknowledgement or confirmation of service user contact."

The report added: "Justin Brown had been discharged from hospital without confirmed support for his addiction between January 4 and February 19 2019. In light of his history of cooperation with the service the hospital would have been assisted by an agreed protocol and closer working with the commissioned drug service to enable monitoring of referrals sent and outcomes for the service users."

Speaking at the inquest Ms Brown said her brother was "such a lovely person".

She said: "He was the life and soul of the party. I don't know anyone who could say a bad word about him.

"He was a really good dad to his children and used to help baby sit for my little sister."

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