Redditch mother to take Somerset NHS Trust to court over daughter's suicide
Oct 29 2009 by John Marsden, Birmingham Post
A mother is set to take legal action against a hospital trust she claims failed to spot her daughter’s mental illness that resulted in her death.
Beautician Tracy Thomas was left devastated when her oldest daughter, Kimberley, hanged herself in her bedroom just two weeks before Christmas.
She claims Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust failed to help 25-year-old Kimberley after she repeatedly threatened to commit suicide when she moved to the region in 2004.
Mrs Thomas, who lives in Redditch, Worcestershire, with her three children, said Kimberely had been suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder.
Despite Kimberley’s plea for help, Mrs Thomas said doctors did not see her as a threat to herself.
And she said they put her on a course of Fluoxetine – an anti-depressant which has been linked in some instances with side effects which can lead to patients wanting to commit suicide.
Mrs Thomas said: “If Kim had been in Worcestershire I’m sure she would have been sectioned and been given 24-hour care.
“But doctors in Somerset didn’t want to know. They were more concerned with transferring resources elsewhere.
“They simply failed to see the gravity of her illness. Of course I want an apology from the hospital but no words or money will ever bring my daughter back.”
Mrs Thomas has now approached Irwin Mitchell solicitors and said she intends to sue the Trust for negligence. She has also set up a Facebook website called Survivors of Family and Friends to Suicide, in a bid to help people who have been affected by similar tragedies.
A spokesman for Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “We offer our condolences to Mrs Thomas for the tragic death of her daughter.
“The Trust would refute any suggestion that we were negligent or failed to diagnose Kimberley correctly.
“We will defend ourselves against any legal action taken against us.”
In April, an inquest heard how former Debenhams employee Ms Thomas, of Winchester Street, Taunton, hanged herself after a series of relationships broke down. Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust received an excellent rating from the Care Quality Commission for its treatment of mentally ill patients last year.