Parents to be Compensated for Failings in Psychiatric Care

Posted on: March 26th, 2016 by Editor

The parents of a woman who died because of malnourishment whilst in psychiatric care are due to receive a £7,500 settlement of compensation. 
The woman in question, Ruth Mitchell, died aged forty in September 2012 in her Plymouth flat. Under the care of Livewell Southwest (formerly known as Plymouth Community Healthcare), Ruth died because of complications because of malnourishment. When she was found, her living conditions were described as “squalid and impoverished”, with no furniture, curtains, rugs or carpets.
An investigation followed, which found that Plymouth Community Healthcare had failed to adequately review Ruth’s situation, even though there were concerns over her “deteriorating self-care” in 2011. The care facility did not assess Ruth as a vulnerable adult, and the investigation found that the nurse’s response to the situation “did not go far enough”.
Anne and Russell, Ruth’s parents, filed a complaint over the level of care provided to their daughter with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The complaint, only partially upheld, lead to a report that concluded “there is not enough evidence for us to say whether Ruth’s death could have been avoided if she had received appropriate care, but opportunities to prevent her deterioration and death were completely lost.”
The Ombudsman’s report has lead to a £7,500 compensation settlement being offered to Russell and Anne for their loss due to failings in psychiatric care. The nurse who was responsible for Ruth, Joanna Campbell, faces a disciplinary hearing for her failure to keep adequate records over a four-year period and for not raising safeguarding concerns, leaving a patient at an “unwarranted risk”.
Russell Mitchell, who spoke with the BBC after the announcement of the four-figure compensation settlement, has commented that “nothing can compensate for the loss of a child. We only really started this because we wanted someone to say sorry. My wife was particularly moved because she felt that Ruth couldn’t be the only one. We know it won’t bring our daughter back but it might help someone else’s daughter.”

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