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Legal Aid for Bereaved Families – Mental Health

6 December 2018

Blog, Clinical Negligence

A Government commissioned review recommends legal aid for bereaved families and the review can be found here

The Report states:

Although we are not recommending an independent investigation in every case, we think that funding should be available for the families of those who have died unnaturally, violently or by suicide whilst detained, to receive non-means-tested legal aid. This would be to help families to understand the processes, their rights, and what steps they can take. This would include funding to attend the inquest, but should also be available to support families immediately after the death of the patient”.

More can be read here

We have been acting on behalf of a family who’s daughter was diagnosed with postnatal depression by a GP in October 2012 following the birth of her first child. The condition flared up following the arrival of her second child in 2014. She also suffered from hyperemeris gravidarum (HG) – an extreme form of morning sickness brought to the fore by the Duchess of Cambridge who suffered from the condition while expecting Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Additionally, the family believe she may have had postpartum psychosis after her second baby was born in 2014.

Our Client’s daughter died instantly on July 12, 2015 when she was hit by the Hull to Scarborough train near Spring Bank West after telling staff at Westlands, in Anlaby Road, west Hull, where she was a voluntary inpatient, she was going out to buy cigarettes.

Her daughter pleaded with bosses at Humber NHS Foundation Trust – responsible for the region’s mental health services – to allow her to be admitted to a mother and baby unit in Leeds. Westlands was not the right place for her, in the family’s opinion. She asked to be admitted to the specialist mother and baby unit, but her request were turned down.

Our Client’s daughter was allowed to leave the unit, unaccompanied, even though she was on 15 minute observations. Later, she stepped into the path of a passing train and was killed instantly by the impact.

Our Client and the family was going through the Inquest process with the assistance of Wayne Walker, Solicitor here at Williamsons, who is experienced with both the Inquest procedure and medical negligence. Having attepted to obtain Legal Aid by way one of the “Exceptional Funding Criteria”, it was apparent that the family would not be given the funding to undertake the inquest therefore, Wayne agreed to assist with the inquest, and anything that follows, by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee).

Wayne says “this case, as well as a number of cases before it, shows that improvements are needed for the provision of postnatal care, if future tragedies are to be prevented.

Although assurances have been given by the Trust on many occasions, the family are not convinced that if another individual presented tomorrow, she would receive better care.

It is very disappointing that the family have been left without the financial means to have a full investigation and that’s why I felt the need for something to be done”.

At the inquest, the Coroner ruled that the case be an ‘Article 2 inquest’. Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects everyone’s right to life. This means that the Inquest will go further into the processes that were in place to protect a person’s right and to establish whether there are any failings.

At the conclusion of the inquest, major failings were identified, even to the extend of criminal neglect was a plausible argument. The Trust admitted their failings and agreed that, had the appropriate treatment been undertaken, our Client’s daughter, and mother to two young children, would not have been allowed to take her own life.

Wayne is now pursuing the case through the courts to obtain financial compensation to assist the family with taking care of the children who have been left without a mother. The case continues and is likely to resolve within 2019.

Anyone needing support to cope with postnatal depression can contact the Association for Post Natal Illnesses. Click here for more information or call 0207 3860868.

If you require assistance with an application for legal aid, whether it is for an inquest or a claim for Clinical Negligence, please contact Wayne on 01482 323697 or email wayne.walker@williamsons.co.uk


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Joanna H

Well from the moment I met Wayne Walker his professionalism,clarity of thought, and aim to do the best job he can were all evident. He has been involved with my family for five years nearly and has always made me feel as though my views were relevant and integral to furthering the case. Wayne has highly developed organisational skills and we always felt just ‘looked after’ by Wayne snd Williamsons in getting through the very worst of times. Wayne sometimes needed to encourage me to look at things from a different perspective and he always achieved this with firm kindness. Wayne is a great professional but more importantly a fundamentally great human being. I will always recommend Williamsons and especially on the subject of clinical negligence I will always recommend Wayne. Full job well done start to finish. Thanks Wayne there are no words. Jo Hogg (Polly’s mum)

Anonymous

Williamsons Solicitors supported our family to succeed to a very high level. We cannot thank Sarah Jackson enough for her incredible support, dedication and commitment to understanding the finest detail of our case. Her dedication was phonememonal and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend her in a heartbeat. Thank you for bringing closure to our case and for supporting us one hundred percent. We were informed at every stage within the case and knew we were in safe professional hands throughout. Many thanks, Mr and Mrs Appleton.

Asoka T

Very professional and a friendly team, specially Helen Lennon who handled my case.

Carl R

I was very happy with the way they handled my case and still got the result even in these hard times where having at the moment thank you to all involved and I’d recommend you to others

Angie L

Williamsons solicitors were professional, caring and efficient. They dealt with what was, a very upsetting experience I had via medical negligence. They kept me up to date, enquired about my well-being and were always available to either speak to me when I had concerns or answered my emails. They ensured that the compensation I finally received was in my best interests by advising what they thought was a too low first offer of settlement. I cannot thank them enough for the way they handled my case and for pushing for a better higher settlement figure. I would definitely use them again should I ever be in a position to need them Thank you so much.

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Sue W

In May 2017 after a long & painful road of recovery wich is still ongoing today. I finally plucked up the courage & decided to approach Willams Solicitors as I felt that there was something very wrong with the poor service i received in March 2015 from 1 1 1. Having made two calls over the weekend. Inspite of right leg being in immense pain & stone cold I was told that i had probably pulled a muscle nothing they could do for me & to visit my GP So after a weekend of struggling with pain i visited my GP to be rushed to Hospital with absent pulses in the right foot. On examination there was a blood clot on my right knee caused by Critical ischaemia nothing whatsoever to do with a pulled muscle. I was told i needed a thrombosis procedure to dissolve blood clot if this was unsuccessful they would have no other choice than to amputate below the right knee I was devastated Thanks to this amazing solicitors who advised me that they felt 1 1 1 had possibly been neglectful & would like to take my case on. With an outstanding Nick Gray becoming my solicitor & the amazing team of experts including Julian Matthews an absolutely brilliant barrister Vascular surgeons experts Professor sir Peter Bell & Professor Shearman who were also amazing in highlighting the Hospital were neglectful as well & need not of removed my leg & could have avoided amputation. All of the other team of experts who helped with this case as well were very good In fact I had a fantastic team i couldn't fault Williams solicitors at all. They proved all 3 defendants to be negligent & they got me an amazing settlement far more than I could ever dreamed of & in a short space of time A huge thanks to Nick Gray & his fantastic team inside & outside Williams I can start rebuilding my life knowing I can afford to have & get the very best in making life a lot easier. I can't have my leg back but I can now smile again knowing life won't be a struggle. I would strongly recommend this Solicitors to anybody who needs a professional honest caring & worth every penny Solicitor you will not be disappointed. Once again a massive Thank you to Nick Gray & all his team ❤ Sue Willoughby

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