Sister of Jeremy Head, 49, who died on mental health unit says she ‘was not heard’ following inquest
PUBLISHED: 18:20 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:59 22 February 2017
The sister of voluntary patient found hanged at a Suffolk mental health unit says she feels ‘a lot of questions have not been answered’ following the conclusion of an inquest into his death.
Jeremy Head was found in his room at Wedgwood House, run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and based at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, on November 23, 2014.
Coroner Peter Dean concluded a three-day inquest yesterday saying Mr Head had died as result of hanging, but could not be sure whether he had intended to take his own life.
Following the hearing, his sister Joanna Clark, said: “He was my baby brother, he was the bee’s knees and very unique.
“But he wasn’t unique, he was one of many white, middle -aged, intelligent, professional and eloquent men who end up falling between the two stalls of medical health and physical health.”
The inquest heard that Mr Head had returned to Suffolk in October 2014 having worked as a child physiologist in India for 11 years.
Complaining of severe abdominal pain, he sought medical treatment before volunteering to go into the mental health unit at Wedgwood House.
He continued to complain of pain, claiming his ‘bowels and stomach were fused together’.
Doctors used a working diagnosis of conversion disorder - believing the pain was mainly psychosomatic.
On November 7, Mrs Clark discovered a knife, a note and empty tablet packet in his room and notified staff. However, Mr Head was still not considered to be a high risk patient.
During the inquest Dr Dean said it had been difficult for staff to diagnose Mr Head as there were inconsistencies in his symptoms and the events surrounding his previous treatment.
A post mortem examination revealed he had gallbladder disease and a stomach ulcer at the time of his death.
“He was experiencing these symptoms, the issue is the degree to which they were psychosomatic,” said Dr Dean.
Mrs Clark said she felt disappointed by the inquest.
“I have not been heard,” she said, “a lot of questions have not been answered.
“How must it be to be in such pain and not be believed.
“I don’t know what more he could have done to get their attention.”