Matthew Dunham (right), a 25-year-old web designer, was prescribed Citalopramapproximately 3 months before he jumped from the fifth floor of the Castle Mall Shopping Centre in Norwich on May 9th2013.
Lawyers today that his family have settled a claim out of court with the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust () after the trust admitted failures that “materially contributed to the deceased taking his own life.”
An in September 2013 heard that Matthew was not happy with his accommodation or his job, and that a friend convinced him to visit a doctor who prescribed Citalopram. Two weeks later, on March 27, he was as suffering with severe low mood and mild anxiety and was advised to attend stress control sessions.
On April 8 Matthew attended an assessment, where a clinician recorded evidence of depressive symptoms and a sense of hopelessness. Matthew disclosed that he felt suicidal at times and, on the previous evening, he had set up a noose in his flat and stood in front of it for 20 minutes. He was rated as a 7/10 suicide risk.
He was then referred to the recovery team of the NSFT, but two weeks later the team had still not contacted him. Instead, they held a meeting among themselves but not including Matthew, at which he was allocated a social worker. He was then sent a letter on May 2 suggesting an appointment for May 23.
Recording a narrative verdict, Norfolk coroner (left) said that there were “fundamental deficiencies” in the trust’s care for Matthew.
After the inquest, Matthew’s family said in a statement: “We are heartbroken to know that Matthew went from a wonderful person to this in the space of nine weeks. Our son was an intelligent, caring person who sought professional help as soon as he realised he was depressed.” Matthew’s mother Donna was appalled by Matthew’s lack of treatment and took the case to law.
Donna’s lawyer (right), a medical negligence specialist with, said: “Matthew’s family feel passionately that the mental health service let Matthew down. “The details of Matthew’s case reveal a hopelessly bureaucratic mental health service, which completely betrayed phentermine him. I dread to think of the turmoil that Matthew was experiencing at the time. It may be that the fatal flaws revealed by this case are due to lack of money and resources or it may be management structure.”
The lawyer said his team had worked on 20 cases in the past three years involving patients in East Anglia who had taken their own lives.