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Why Was My Daughter Allowed To Kill Herself?

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by goingonhope, Aug 6, 2007.

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  1. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Why Was My Daughter Allowed To Kill Herself?

    Feb 8, 2007

    A MOTHER of a psychiatric patient is demanding to know how she was allowed to carry out a threat to throw herself from the top of a multi-story car park.

    Tracey Stuart spoke out last night after a three-day Reading inquest heard how her 27-year-old daughter Gemma threw herself from the Royal Berkshire Hospital car park minutes after leaving a counselling session.

    Mrs Stuart claimed staff at Reading's Prospect Park Hospital failed in a duty of care for dropping her off at the therapy session in Erleigh Road on August 31, 2005, despite warning that she intended to kill herself.

    However, a coroner ruled yesterday that nobody was to blame.

    Choking back the tears the 50-year-old, who also lost her son Steven in a motorbike smash 10 months after Gemma's death, said: "They had a duty of care but they let my daughter down and they let me down."

    Gemma first tried to kill herself with a paracetamol overdose when she was 16.

    She graduated from Southampton University in 1999 with a law degree and planned to go to Guildford Law School the following year.

    But after returning to her home her depression worsened and she was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and sectioned under the Mental Health Act to Chadwick Lodge at Milton Keynes.

    Four years later she was moved to Prospect Park Hospital and diagnosed with complex post traumatic stress disorder trig-gered by childhood sexual abuse.

    Her medication, including the anti-psychotic drug Chlozapine, was reduced and Gemma tried to kill herself 24 times in hospital during the next 15 months.

    The night before her death she was sectioned - allowing her to be detained - after trying to strangle herself with a bra.

    But the next day Gemma reassured staff she was fine and she was allowed to go the therapy session.

    Mrs Stuart said: "It is wrong that she should be responsible for her own actions because she was a very sick lady with a long-term illness.

    "She may have been a grown woman but she was a child who wasn't up to taking responsibility for herself.

    "The only person who got it right was the nurse who sectioned her the night before she died." "He went with what he felt he should do to put Gemma's safety first."

    "The other staff just accepted it, gave her a lift to the hospital and dropped her off."

    And she added: "I think the NHS provides a poor service. If she had been sectioned again we would not be standing here.

    "They should have stopped her leaving.

    Talking about her daughter,she said: "Gem was special and bright, she was also a kind and thoughtful and gentle soul.

    "She brought me such joy, I loved her and she loved me. But now I am so sad, I have lost my daughter."

    Source: The Reading Chronicle, UK


    Gemma Told Staff: I'm Going to Kill Myself

    Feb 8, 2007

    THE INQUEST into the death of Gemma Stuart heard how she warned staff that she specifically intended to throw herself from the multi-storey car park at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

    But the next day, August 31 2005, Gemma was taken to her therapy session in Erleigh Road and, after pretending she needed the toilet, she escaped and ran to the hospital car park.

    The inquest also heard how in May that year Gemma climbed onto the roof of Boots in The Meadway but was talked down by police. On another occasion she was discovered by hospital staff surfing the internet for suicide sites.

    She also talked to her mother Tracey about the "grand finale" and her distress at hearing voices telling her to kill herself.

    Mrs Stuart's statement to the inquest read: "Gemma told me she had purchased a thank you card for the chaplain and a goodbye box of chocolates for the staff."

    "I advised the ward staff that Gemma was planning on self-harming in a big way. Gemma gave a member of staff a birthday card in September and told her she would be in her grave by her next birthday."

    The day before her death, at her weekly volunteer therapy session, Gemma told staff she had been sexually assaulted.

    And on the day of her death she told doctors the three options for suicide were by burning herself, jumping in front of a car or off a multi-storey car park.

    The inquest was told Gemma and Nicola Simone, deputy manager of Rose Ward, spoke about her leaving the hospital for her therapy session. Nurse Simone said: "We asked her whether she would be safe and she said she would be. She convinced us all that she was fine about going."

    "There was an element of risk in not wrapping Gemma in cotton wool but it was a clinical decision to allow her off the ward when she felt fine."

    "I felt that Gemma needed that appointment more than ever, she needed somebody who she could talk with." "She must be encouraged to take responsibility for her own actions."

    Professor Suzanna Rose, head of Berkshire post traumatic stress disorder service in Erleigh Road, said Gemma looked distressed and preoccupied when she arrived. Professor Rose said: "Gemma said she was planning to kill herself after the session and wanted to visit the car park to throw herself off. She was laughing and giggling in a childish way." Professor Rose was so concerned about Gemma that she called clinical psychologist Valda Lane to look after her while she contacted Prospect Park Hospital.

    Gemma asked to go to the toilet and then gave Ms Lane the slip, ran out of the building and headed straight for Craven Road.

    The inquest heard RBH security guards followed Gemma into the car park and tried to coax her down. She sat with her legs dangling over the edge and, before pushing herself off, she said: "I need to do this for Gemma." She died from massive injuries.

    A suicide note addressed to her mother read: "I love you and I am sorry."

    Coroner Peter Bedford, recording a narrative verdict, said her suicide followed a long pattern of similar behaviour but on the day of her death it did not meet the criteria to section her.

    A narrative verdict, introduced in 2004, is a factual record of how, and in what circumstances, a death occurrs. He said: "The decision to allow her to attend the clinic was after a long discussion and against her assurances of a safe return, and she had always been reliable in giving such assurances.

    "If they had not allowed her to go,it could have been a setback in her treatment if it looked like they did not believe her."

    Mr Bedford concluded: "It is human for her family to want to blame somebody for Gemma's death but in my view if anyone is to blame it is the person responsible for perpetrating the abuse which led to the downward spiral of her distress."

    Source: The Reading Chronicle, UK


    Abuser Was Responsible For Law Graduate's Car Park Death Fall

    Feb 9 2007

    A GRIEVING mother whose daughter threw herself to her death from a multi-storey car park, received a shattering second blow as she prepared to attend the inquest.

    Tracey Stuart, 50, of Rydings, Windsor, was unconsolable after her 27-year-old law graduate daughter Gemma died, an inquest heard.

    Then after ten months of grief she saw a policeman approaching her door. She said: "You're here about my son, aren't you?"

    When the puzzled policeman asked whether anyone else had been in touch she said: "No, it's just he's the only one left." Tragically the officer confirmed her worst fears. Her 26-year-old son Steven who was studying for a doctorate in clinical medicine at Oxford had been killed in a late-night crash on the M40 in Oxfordshire last June 28. Steven, an accomplished athlete who had been picked for the England Commonwealth Games rowing squad, had comforted his mum as she tried to cope with Gemma's death. The inquest into Gemma's death was delayed until this Wednesday to give Mrs Stuart a chance to recover from her second blow.

    She broke down in tears during the inquest at Reading, as she heard how Gemma asked to use the toilet during a therapy session in a day centre in the town.

    But Gemma slipped out of the building and headed for the nearby car park where a security guard from Royal Berkshire Hospital, Andrew Rowe, found her.

    She was sitting on the sixth floor ledge. When he tried to persuade her to come back in she said: "I just want to kill myself. I've got to do it, gonna do it," before letting go of the pole she was holding.

    East Berkshire Coroner Peter Bedford heard that Gemma's illness stemmed from being sexually abused for more than ten years as a child. She first attempted suicide at 12.
    She gained a law degree from Southampton before becoming ill and undergoing nine months of treatment at Slough's Wexham Park Hospital.

    She was later treated at Milton Keynes where she was diagnosed with Schizophrenic Affective Disorder. But when her treatment continued at Prospect Park Hospital, Reading, doctors decided she had post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the abuse.

    Coroner Mr Bedford said he felt there had been a certain lack of communication between staff involved in Gemma's care but said: "If anybody is to blame it is the person who was responsible for perpetrating the abuse who led to her downward spiral."

    He had earlier ordered that the alleged abuser who was not charged, should not be identified.

    He recorded a verdict that Gemma killed herself on August 31, 2005 while in a disassociated state.

    Source: The Reading Chronicle, UK
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