11:17AM, Thursday 11 January 2018
An inquest heard how a 53-year-old man from Slough with a history of depression took his own life after he was taken off his psychotropic medication.
Michael Prior was found dead on Monday, August 7 2017 in his supported accommodation in Doddsfield Road.
At his inquest in Reading Town Hall on Wednesday, January 10, Berkshire Senior Coroner Peter Bedford said Mr Prior had cut his left wrist several times.
Having not answered the door to support workers, Mr Prior’s sister, who had a key to the home, was called to let them in.
Paramedics declared him dead at the scene at 6.42pm.
Mr Prior, who had been on medication for depression for several years, had been admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury on Tuesday, July 25 for a suspected stroke.
Doctors expressed concerns that he may have suffered from a rare autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
As a precautionary measure to avoid damage to his liver and kidneys, Mr Prior was taken off his psychotropic medication.
Against medical advice, Mr Prior discharged himself from hospital on Monday, July 31.
He was not immediately re-prescribed his psychotropic medication by his GP due to concerns over health complications.
Ruth Ryden, a counselling psychologist prepared a report on the incident on behalf of the Berkshire Healthcare NHS community mental health team, gave evidence at the inquest.
She suggested that this incident showed room for improvement in terms of communication between health services.
The inquest heard how the mental health team only heard about Mr Prior’s hospital admission three days later and did not contact the hospital after finding out and the hospital had not contacted the mental health team either.
The inquest heard how between his discharge and his death, Mr Prior showed no signs of depression or intentions to harm himself and that regular checks were made by support workers, who expressed no concerns.
However, given his history of mental health problems and self harm, Mr Bedford was satisfied that Mr Prior has intentionally killed himself.
He gave a conclusion that he died from a loss of blood from cutting his wrist with the intention to end his life, while suffering from mental illness.
Members of his family who attended the inquest had raised concerns about him being taken off his psychotropic medication.
“The awful irony is it was not safe to give him that medication because it might have killed him,” responded Mr Bedford.
“Please don’t think I’m dismissive of your concerns, it’s one of those awful, awful situations where you’re damned if you do, your damned if you don’t.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story, the Samaritans can offer 24-hour support to those struggling to cope or feeling emotional distress. Call 116 123.
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