Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Priory patient killed herself after family unaware she had been discharged.
A businesswoman took her own life days after discharging herself from a flagship clinic run by mental healthcare company, The Priory Group, without her friends or family being informed.
Staff at the clinic also waited ten days before attempting to contact Annabel Findlay, 56, who had been an inpatient at the mental healthcare company’s clinic in Roehampton.
An inquest heard that Findlay, who had a long history of depression, discharged herself against the wishes of her psychiatrist before killed herself in September 2021.
A coroner has now raised concerns over the Priory Hospital Roehampton’s failure to inform Findlay’s next of kin that she had left its care.
In a prevention of future deaths report, assistant coroner for Inner West London, Jake Taylor, also questioned why a follow-up appointment had not been arranged.
Findlay, a descendant of the Findlay landed gentry family, grew up in Newliston, West Lothian, and studied art history at St Andrew’s University. She became a stylist and beauty editor for Brides magazine in the 1990s before graduating with a photography distinction from the London School of Printing.
Findlay, who was divorced, later established her own photography business. She had been an outpatient under psychiatrists at the Roehampton hospital for more than three years before becoming an inpatient on August 20, 2021.
She was described as “not always engaging with medical professionals” and told them that she had been self-medicating.
Findlay had been taking the antidepressant, venlafaxine, which had resulted in urinary retention and, before being admitted, her intake was being reduced by her psychiatrists, Taylor said in his report.
Treatment with a different antidepressant was started the day after Findlay was admitted to hospital. But she discharged herself less than a week later, on August 27.
The report said: “This was despite the requests of her treating psychiatrist for her to remain so that her response to her change of medication could be monitored. At the time of discharge, no significant risks were identified and Ms Findlay was deemed to have capacity and was deemed fit for discharge. A discharge plan was put in place.”
The plan set out that Findlay was to contact the hospital to make an outpatient appointment. She was given a week’s supply of medication and a discharge summary was sent to her GP. Findlay died on September 6. The coroner recorded a verdict that she had taken her own life.
Jake Taylor said the evidence had “revealed matters giving rise to concern” and he believed that future deaths could occur unless actions were taken by the clinic.
He warned that “steps were not taken” to get in touch with Findlay’s emergency contact or next of kin, who were unaware that she had been discharged from hospital, even though her designated emergency contact had also taken her to hospital. It would have meant that Findlay could have received support in the community during her first few days back home.
The coroner added: “No follow-up appointment was made prior to Ms Findlay’s discharge and no attempts were made to contact her following her discharge until September 6, 2021 some ten days later.”