Compensation paid for psychiatric patient suicide
The daughter of a mentally ill patient who absconded from hospital and later committed suicide has been awarded £10,000 in compensation by the High Court.
The patient, Carol Savage, died in 2004 after leaving Runwell Hospital where she was being detained under the Mental Health. Her daughter was claiming compensation from the NHS as she claimed that they had breached her mother’s “right to life”.
It is thought that this case was the first of its kind to be decided in an English court.
The Judge, Mr Justice Mackay observed that Mrs Savage had a history of running away from the hospital and his position was the he had “no doubt that she presented a real and immediate risk” of absconding from the ward and committing suicide in the days before she died.
The Judge did not agree with the NHS Trust’s position that they did all that they reasonably could to prevent the patient from killing herself. The Judge’s position was that she should have been kept under closer observation.