Jamie Gamble, a member of the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Groups at No5, represented the family of Lorna Dodd, who hanged herself from a window latch in a psychiatric intensive care unit at the Bowmere Hospital, Chester, in August last year.

As a high risk patient, she was on a 10-minute interval observation programme, but needed less than five minutes alone in her room to carry out the act. The Estates Department at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust had identified the window latch as a potential hazard as long ago as 2010, but it was admitted at the Inquest that this information had not been passed on to Consultant Psychiatrist or the psychiatric nurses responsible for the unit.

At the Inquest the acting director of the Trust apologised to Ms Dodd’s family and accepted that there had been a failure in communicating the risk. She also indicated that new procedures were now in place, and that a £1 million refurbishment program would shortly commence that would replace all such windows.

The jury concluded that Ms Dodd died as a result of misadventure, which was contributed to by a failure to communicate known ligature point risks to all staff members, which may have contributed to an unsuitable assessment of observation levels.

Please click here to view Jamie Gamble’s Clinical Negligence profile.

Please click here to see the article reported in the Chester Standard.