Man Speaking Out On World Mental Health Day To Raise Awareness Of Importance Of Appropriate Care
A man who was paralysed after he jumped out of a third floor hospital window is speaking out on World Mental Health Day about the importance of appropriate care after the Welsh health board admitted failures in the care he was afforded.
Mark Taylor, 49 from Cardiff, was admitted to Princess of Wales Hospital on 8th February 2016 whilst suffering from a severe deterioration in his mental health. During this time, Mr Taylor was left unattended and smashed a window to jump out of it, suffering a spinal fracture and leaving him paraplegic.
He had been admitted to the hospital the day before, with self-inflicted knife wounds to the neck. Mark subsequently underwent surgery and informed staff at the hospital he made multiple attempts to end his own life.
After he instructed medical negligence specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care he was given, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has admitted to failures.
Christopher Hurlston, the legal specialist at Irwin Mitchell representing Mark, said:
Expert Opinion“This is a truly shocking example of the consequences of negligent treatment of those who suffer from mental health illness.
“Mark was a vulnerable person, who needed help. He was at a place where this should have been a given, however unfortunately for him it wasn’t. This left him open to causing himself a life-changing injury.
“We welcome the health board’s decision to admit that it made failures in its care of Mark. We are committed to ensuring he receives the help and support he needs as he seeks to push on with his rehabilitation.” Chris Hurlston - Senior Associate Solicitor
The Health Board has admitted it failed to make an adequate risk assessment and provide adequate supervision of Mark on the day he jumped out of the window.
Had both of these been done, it is accepted that Mark would not have had the opportunity to cause himself catastrophic harm.
Mark, who lives alone in accommodation provided by a spinal injury charity said: “It is hard reading the admissions made by the health body. It isn’t nice reading about how you’ve been let down when you are at your most vulnerable and in need of help.
“Two years ago I was in a completely different place to where I am now. I am receiving the support and treatment I need to keep my mental health in check.
“This is why I am speaking out on World Mental Health Day, in the hope that my experience can help raise awareness of the importance of proper and appropriate treatment and care. If I had received it, then I would never have suffered the life-changing injuries I did, when I jumped out that window.
“It’s hard to talk about, and I believe I am still coming to terms with my injuries, but if me doing so can help just one person then it’s been worth doing.”
Mark, currently lives by himself and has two grown up children, Jasmine, who is 22 and Bailey aged 18.
Mark’s mental health issues began in 2008. Over the years, he was seen by numerous health professionals, and as late as November 23rd November, 2015, Mark’s GP raised concerns about ongoing mental health issues.
Two and half months later, on 7th February, Mark was brought to the A&E department at the Princess of Wales Hospital requiring emergency surgery for self-inflicted knife wounds to the neck.
After surgery, it was noted that Mark would be referred to the psychiatry team. He was also accompanied by police, having been put under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act due to numerous attempts to abscond from recovery.
A mental health assessment was then carried out in the psychiatric ward. The Serious Incident Investigation report into the incident, carried out by the NHS, found that a doctor informed staff that they did not require Mark’s clinical records to conduct the assessment as they knew him. These records, however, were available.
During the assessment, there was no mention of his earlier hospital admission and the psychotic symptoms which had been documented. Even though he had previously absconded, it was not documented that there was a risk of Mark trying to escape from the ward.
These factors should have influenced the decision on whether to detain Mark, and also the observation levels required.
After the mental health assessment, Mark was left in a waiting room as staff waited for his family to bring in clothes.
The Serious Incident Investigation report highlights a disagreement between a doctor and a nurse on the ward. The doctor said that they had asked the nurse to maintain level 2 observations on Mark, this would mean observations every 15 minutes.
This is disputed by the nurse who, in the report, claims she was never asked to provide any care to Mark.
It is concluded in the report that Mark was left unattended in the section 136 waiting room. It was at this time, Mark made his way out the room and upstairs. He broke the window glass with a fire extinguisher and was seen crouching on the corridor window-sill forcing himself through the broken window.
After the fall, Mark was transferred by air ambulance to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
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