Family Of Filton Man Take Step Towards Justice Regarding His Death
The family of a former accountant who took his own life just a day after being admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Bristol have called for lessons to be learned after the NHS Trust involved admitted liability for his death.
Father-of-one Martyn Watkins, from Filton, was admitted to Callington Road Hospital on 23 March, 2016, for treatment after suffering from mental health problems and developing suicidal thoughts.
However, just a day into his stay on the Aspen Ward, he was found to have attempted suicide in his room. He was subsequently admitted to hospital but died on April 1, aged 65.
A verdict of suicide was recorded at a five-day inquest into his death in November 2016, with assistant coroner Dr Peter Harrowing saying "inadequate checks" were undertaken to ensure Mr Watkins could not harm himself. The coroner also issued a Regulation 28 report calling on Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust to learn lessons from the case and ensure the same issues never emerged in the future.
Now, with the help of specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, Martyn’s family have received an admission from the NHS Trust that there was a failure to admit him to hospital earlier under the Mental Health Act and also a failure to properly assess him on his arrival.
In a letter the Trust admitted that but for the failures Martyn’s death ‘could have been avoided’.
The Trust said it ‘was very sorry for the failures’ and offered its ‘sincerest apologies’ to Martyn’s family.
Expert Opinion"This is a truly tragic case and the inquest into Martyn’s death raised a number of worrying concerns about his care.
“Martyn’s family remain devastated by their loss and feel he was let down when he needed the support of health professionals the most. While nothing will change what has happened, this admission of liability is a step forward in our efforts to help them gain justice regarding their ordeal.
“We are now fully focused on working with the NHS Trust to bring their case to a swift conclusion.” Elise Burvill - Solicitor
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases
Martyn was married to Rosalind, aged 69 for 43 years.
While he had been previously diagnosed with depression when he was 50, the problems which led to his death began in December 2015 when he retired from his job as an accountant and his daughter Kirstie fell seriously ill.
Across the following months his condition deteriorated to the point where he refused to leave the house or get out of bed. He also developed suicidal thoughts and was admitted to hospital twice include once for an overdose.
His family tried to support him but in March 2016 they sought to get him admitted to Callington Road Hospital.
Kirstie, his daughter, aged 42, said: “The final few months of Dad’s life were incredibly difficult and while we did everything we could to help him, we truly hoped that being admitted to hospital could help him turn a corner.
“Getting the phone call regarding his incident at the hospital was devastating – he was my rock for so many years and my mother’s absolute soulmate. He meant so much to so many people and it is still hard to consider that he is not around anymore.
“We all feel that his death could have been avoided if only greater care was taken. My Dad’s death was a tragic waste of life and all the stories and all the memories we have don’t do him justice.
“He was the kindest, most loving and gentle man you could meet and he lived for his family. No one should have to face what we have been through and our only hope now is that by gaining justice we can ensure that lessons have definitely been learned which will prevent others facing what Dad did.”