My mum suffered from Bipolar Affective Disorder - known to many as 'manic depression' - and fought a lifetime battle against this condition for over 40 years of her life. In the latter years of her illness, my mum had to be admitted on many occasions to hospital as my family and I simply could not care for her at home during crises.
Sadly, my mother died in hospital, in shocking circumstances, which the Coroner for Inner North London, Dr. Andrew Reid, has decided NOT to investigate. My family and I are calling on the public to support us and join the camapign for Justice for Sandra at http://justice4sandra.blogspot.com where you can sign up for email updates about the case as it progresses to the High Court.
My mother died on 2nd October 2006 after being found on the floor in the bathroom on a ward in hospital. My mum had been falling regularly due to severe strain on her body caused by serious physical health problems, many of which were untreated by nurses, including MRSA.
The drug treatment included a drug named acuphase - a 'major tranquilliser' - a drug that would normally not be used on elderly patients such as my mum. Nursing staff have said they thought my mum had the 'constitution of an elephant' and so gave it to her anyway. However, they didn't take into account the fact that my mum had a heart condition, and acuphase is known for causing heart failure - which my mum died from.
However, this is just one of the failings in her care. My mum, sadly, suffered numerous attacks from other patients, and, she stated, staff, because she was doubly incontinent. Her dignity was frequently trampled upon and staff admitted they simply could not deal with my mother's physical health problems. They also failed to assess the risks posed to my mother by other patients and her treatment, and her physical health rapidly deteriorated during her last hospital admission.
On 17th August 2006 my mum was seriously assaulted by a younger patient. This patient was moved to another ward, but shortly after allowed back after writing an apology. But the attacks did not stop - and staff continued to ignore the risks faced by my mum.
Injuries started to appear all over my mother's body and staff could not account for them. Indeed, they said my mum fell a lot - but didn't do anything to help her. Indeed, they never even did a proper risk assessment.
On the night of my mum's death, she should have been supervised to her bathroom where she told staff she would go to the toilet. Mysteriously, the hospital staff have claimed that my mum no longer needed constant observation as she had been cured of incontinence, falling and risks from other patients.
My mum laid on the floor of her bathroom for 10 minutes before anyone noticed.
What happened next is almost as shocking as the overall care that my mother received whilst in hospital. A duty doctor didn't have the correct life-saving equipment and commenced CPR, allegedly, before clearing my mum's airways. Staff were unable to use oxygen equipment and, during this time, my mum was being starved of oxygen.
Although ambulance staff were called, a security guard at the mental hospital was sleeping, and they weren't able to get access to the building for 6-7 minutes - the last minutes of my mother's life. My mum died shortly after being rushed to the local A&E Department.
A coroner opened an Inquest into my mother's death but has refused to hear all the evidence in the case. My family and I are challenging this decision in the High Court. We believe that the problems experienced by my mum were systemic withing the hospital where she died, and senior staff confirmed that disciplinaries were rising and the training of staff was poor.
We now want justice for what happened to my mother - Justice for Sandra, and justice for all vulnerable patients within the mental health system.