Inquest finds psychiatric hospital to blame for patient's death

March 13, 2014

A jury has unanimously blamed the death of a schizophrenic Hatfield man on serious failings at the psychiatric unit based at Welwyn Garden City’s QE2 Hospital.

In a narrative verdict after a four-day inquest into the death of Ozan Atasoy, 34, of Lemsford Road, a jury identified five failings by the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Welwyn Garden City unit.

The jury found that despite strict instructions not to allow Mr Atasoy out of Mymms Ward on the first floor, he had slipped out behind another patient, and escaped from the smoking garden over a five-foot fence on May 6, 2012.

Thirteen days later, he was found dead in the River Thames in London.

Although the jury did not rule on how he entered the river, his father has no doubt that he jumped from Blackfriars Bridge.

Mr Atasoy was detained for his own protection under the Mental Health Act as he was plagued by voices urging him to kill himself, and his parents had warned managers the fence was too low.

His father, Cahit Atasoy, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We are pleased with the verdict.

“The whole thing was a shambles.

“They [the trust] have now done things like raising the height of the fence and changing the layout of the garden.

“But the staff are the same. The staffing was inadequate. There must be training and monitoring to ensure nobody else has to go through what we went through.”

Source: "Serious failure led to death of Hatfield psychiatric patient," Welwyn Hatfield Times, March 10, 2014.

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