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By Surrey Live
00:00, 4 NOV 2004
Updated 22:12, 2 JUL 2013
A CORONER raised concerns over side effects from anti-depressant drugs during an inquest into the death of a West Byfleet man who was run over after walking out of hospital while in a confused state.
Roger Harvey Whipp, aged 59, left Ashford Hospital and was walking along the A30 in his pyjamas when he was run over by an articulated lorry on Monday January 19.
Mr Whipp was suffering side effects from anti-depressant drugs and had been due to see a psychiatrist on the day of his death.
Michael Burgess, coroner for Surrey, recorded a verdict of accidental death at Woking Coroner’s Court.
He also said he would write to Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust to see if psychiatrists’ visits might be arranged more quickly.
The inquest heard Mr Whipp, who was single and had no children, became depressed when he was made redundant in 2003 after 37 years as a book buyer for Bentalls department store in Kingston.
He had problems with his anti-depressants and was put on a different tablet in January but within three days his GP sent him to Ashford Hospital after he developed movement problems, causing him to “freeze up.”
When Mr Whipp arrived at the hospital on Friday January 16, doctors decided he was either suffering withdrawal symptoms from the first drug or side effects from the second.
He was taken off the anti-depressants and given a drug to ease his movement.
Mr Whipp’s sister Vivian Dolton, also from West Byfleet, told the inquest he became incoherent and was hallucinating on Sunday and would not leave his hospital bed.
On Monday, doctors noted Mr Whipp was suffering “paranoid delusions” and ordered an urgent psychiatric appointment.
House officer Hamza Ahmed Baig said he prepared a written referral form for the psychiatric department but by the time the psychiatrist arrived at 4.30pm Mr Whipp had marched out of the hospital.
Healthcare assistant Heidi Young had tried to coax him back but was not legally allowed to force him to stay.
She said: “He was marching like a robot on a mission.”
Mr Whipp was seen in Ashford town centre before heading towards the A30 at about 5.10pm. Motorist Darren Parkins told the inquest he was driving in slow traffic when Mr Whipp got into the passenger seat of his car.
Mr Parkins said: “He said ‘I haven’t committed any crime, can you take me to the nearest police station?’ and ‘I want a fair trial.’”
He drove towards Staines police station but Mr Whipp got out at the next set of lights.
Mr Whipp left a screwed-up note in the car that the coroner said suggested he wanted to make a will. Two other drivers said they saw Mr Whipp step into the road shortly before he was struck by the lorry.
Michael Anthony Christian was driving the articulated lorry for delivery firm TNT.
He said: “The first I knew he came from the nearside in front of the lorry. It looked like he dived at the lorry.”
Mr Burgess said there was nothing to suggest Mr Whipp wanted to take his life and he would report to the committee for safety of medicines about the drugs Mr Whipp was on.
He said: “Side effects as extreme as these need to be recorded so the profile of these medicines are recognised as causing these difficulties in some people.”
Mr Burgess called on the health authorities concerned to review their communications to ensure that any delays that may have led to the psychiatrist “not turning up as promptly as expected” could be ironed out.
He said: “It may serve in the future to ensure better quality of care given to patients.”