Hudgell Solicitors has supported a family in holding two health trusts to account for failing to provide the appropriate care to a man who took his own life after a battle with depression and alcoholism.
Father-of-one Jonathon Mark Janney – known to his family and friends as Mark – had hidden his personal troubles from his family, who were left devastated when he was found dead at his home after taking his own life.
An inquest into his death, and subsequent investigations led by our medical negligence solicitor Nicola Evans, revealed clear failings in the standard of care provided to him.
Mr Janney was discharged from hospitals on three occasions in the fortnight before his death, twice after taking overdoses of the medication he was taking to manage his alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
On the other occasion, police had removed him from his flat after forcing their way in and finding him with a hangman’s noose made from electrical wire.
Both the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, and the Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, have now apologised to Mr Janney’s family after the poor standard they provided was revealed.
Each admitted failings, with the family now set to recieve £14,000 in damages.
Lessons must be learned
Solicitor Nicola Evans says lessons must be learned.
She said: “This has quite understandably been a very upsetting time for the family of Mr Janney, as they were unaware of the deep problems he was facing in his life and how desperate he was for help.
“In this case, he had actually turned to the relevant mental health facilities in the region, but as they have admitted, he was badly let down. He made a cry for help but didn’t get it.
“To this day, his family find it hard to understand how a man known by medical professionals to be battling depression and alcoholism can be discharged home on two occasions after making attempts on his own life. Clearly, this should never have been the case, and opportunities were missed to protect Mr Janney from self harm.
“It is to be hoped that lessons have been learned, from senior managers to those on the wards, to ensure this situation is not repeated when others are in need of full and complete assessments of their state of mind.
“Mr Janney was clearly trying to get his life back in order. Had appropriate support been provided, he may well have been able to do just that.”
Turned away by two hospitals
Struggling to cope with his troubles, the 41-year-old steel erector from Bridlington first admitted himself to the A&E department at Scarborough General Hospital on May 21, 2011, having overdosed on his medication. He said he had argued with his partner but regretted taking the tablets.
He was seen and assessed by the Scarborough Crisis Team the following day, who concluded there was no further evidence of suicidal intent and recommended that he be referred to the Bridlington Crisis Team and have a home visit by a GP.
However, a day later, police had to force themselves into Mr Janney’s flat when his partner of six months received a number of concerning text messages, and having found a hangman’s noose made from electrical wire, an officer called Buckrose Mental Health Unit at Bridlington Hospital to refer him.
Mr Janney was still not admitted for assessment though, despite the requests of the officer, who then took him to the Minor Injuries Unit at Bridlington Hospital, where he was also turned away.
The officer returned Mr Janney home, only for him to be taken to Scarborough General Hospital again six days later, having again taken an overdose of his medication, and having drank a large amount of vodka.
Again, as he said it was an ‘impulsive act’, Mr Janney was discharged home, before taking his own life and being found dead on June 6.
Justice for MarkMark’s brother Nick Janney
Mr Janney leaves behind a 14-year-old son, and his brother Nick, 49, also of Bridlington, says he wants people to be aware of Mark’s story to raise awareness of the importance of dealing with mental health issues in the right way.
“I wanted to get justice for my brother and I want to try and do my best so no other family has to go through this. None of us in his family had a clue,” he said.
“The whole think stinks, Mark was badly let down. He worked hard all his life and they let him down right at the end when he needed help most. It makes me feel sick. They should have done more for him. Mark had clearly tried to seek help, but was turned away by mental health officials three times. He was also regularly seeing his GP.
“He was a proud lad. He hid it so well. It’s the type of lad he was. He was trying to seek help through official channels and they didn’t want to know.”
Admission of liability
Whilst both health trusts have apologised to Mr Janney’s family, it has been Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust which has accepted liability for his death, and agreed to compensate the family.
They admitted their failure to carry out an appropriate, full assessment on Mr Janney’s first hospital visit after overdosing was ultimately responsible for the poor care which followed.
Humber NHS Foundation Trust said it ‘deeply regrets’ that the standard of care it provided was ‘inadequate’.
The majority of the £14,000 compensation will go to Mr Janney’s son after his mother is recompensed for funeral expenses.