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Posted: January 23, 2015
By KATHIE MCINNES
GRANDFATHER David Findlay hanged himself just two days after telling hospital staff he had suicidal thoughts.
An inquest heard how the panic-stricken 65-year-old had pleaded with his family to take him to A&E because he felt he would be safe there.
But after being seen by two psychiatric nurses at Royal Stoke University Hospital, he was assessed as not being an immediate risk and was discharged.
He was told to visit his GP the following day so his anti-depressant medication could be checked and follow-up mental health support could be arranged.
But on June 17 last year, Mr Findlay hanged himself at home in Wedgwood Lane, Gillow Heath, near Biddulph.
His wife Susan had gone out to take their grandchildren to school and returned to find both the front door and patio door locked. She let herself in and went to take her coat off.
Mrs Findlay told the inquest: “Something made me go upstairs. I went into the bedroom. His clothes were still there on the bed as I had laid them out for him.
“I went towards the bathroom, I turned and then I saw him.”
She called 999 and dashed outside to get help from a neighbour, who began giving Mr Findlay CPR as paramedics were on their way. But they were unable to save him.
The inquest heard the retired painter and decorator had been receiving treatment for a series of health problems, including pain linked to nerve damage and severe arthritis in his knees.
He also suffered from sleep trouble, heart problems and the chest condition COPD, which left him struggling for breath.
Mrs Findlay said, although he had previously talked about harming himself, the family had assumed he was joking and had no idea his depression was so bad.
But at 5am on June 15, he woke up his wife, telling her: “Phone for an ambulance. I need to go in hospital. I’m going to kill myself.”
She took him to hospital later that morning and he was referred to a mental health team at the site, who were employed by Combined Healthcare.
Psychiatric nurse Yvonne Dake told the hearing: “He said he had some thoughts. He thought he might either take an overdose or hang himself.
“But he said he had no plans to do that. He didn’t think he would have the guts and he couldn’t do it to his family.”
Recording a verdict of suicide, North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said the troubled pensioner had been facing ‘unrelenting pain’ due to his health problems.
He added: “I can’t think of an answer to it, short of a heart-lung transplant and new legs. I suspect that’s what David was thinking: ‘I’m just going to get worse and worse’.”