Man’s death ‘would not have occurred’ had he been admitted as mental health patient, coroner says
The death of a man from Bury St Edmunds who took his own life “would not have occurred” had he been admitted as an informal mental health patient at a Suffolk hospital, a coroner has said.
Piotr Kierzkowski was found at his home on December 17 2019 - a day after he had been taken to see his GP by a friend, who was concerned about his mental health.
The GP referred him for a review by mental health professionals at the accident and emergency department at West Suffolk Hospital.
Mental health practitioners at the hospital were keen to admit Mr Kierzkowski as an informal patient on the hospital’s psychiatric unit.
Mr Kierzkowski also said he wanted to be admitted to the hospital.
However, the unit was at capacity and there were no other beds available in Suffolk or elsewhere in the country at the time.
Mr Kierzkowski told staff at the hospital that he was not actively suicidal.
Although they were concerned for Mr Kierzkowski, they did not believe the powers of detention under the Mental Health Act were applicable.
He and his friend were told to return to the hospital the next morning if his condition deteriorated. He was also given medication for his anxiety.
However, before Mr Kierzkowski could be returned to the unit, he had already taken his own life and was found by police in his bedroom.
In a prevention of future deaths report, senior coroner for Suffolk, Nigel Parsley, concluded that Mr Kierzkowski’s life could have been saved.
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“Had a bed been available and Piotr had been admitted as he and medical staff had wished on the evening of December 16 2019, his death would not have occurred,” said Mr Parsley.
“I am therefore concerned in relation to the overall bed capacity for those patients like Piotr seeking informal admission.
“In addition, I am concerned about the provisions to temporarily house a patient wishing informal admission in the circumstances that a bed is not immediately available.”
The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that it had received the coroner’s report into Mr Kierzkowski’s death.
West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been approached for comment.
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