Stoke & Staffordshire

Rugeley rail death woman's family wins NHS payout

The family of a woman who killed herself while receiving hospital treatment for depression has been given a five figure sum in compensation.

Samantha Maritza walked in front of a train after being allowed to leave St George's Hospital unsupervised.

Her family said her death in 2010 might have been prevented with better record keeping and they wanted an apology.

The hospital in Stafford said since 21-year-old Ms Maritza's death it had changed the way records are kept.

Solicitors acting for Ms Maritza's family said she had first gone to her GP in April 2010 complaining of depression and mood swings, and admitted trying to take her own life.

Later, she went to the hospital and after six more attempts on her own life she was detained under mental health legislation, her solicitors said.

'Wrong decision'

In early June that year she was allowed to leave the hospital unescorted, but her mother, Joan, said she raised concerns with a nurse because she had seen an entry in her daughter's diary about train times.

On 9 June 2010, Ms Maritza, from Rugeley, left the hospital and walked in front of a train at Lichfield Trent Valley railway station.

Her parents said: "It was obviously the wrong decision, Sam was not ready at that time."

They brought the claim of negligence against South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which has settled out of court with the family.

The trust offered its condolences to the family and said that after an investigation, "a number of changes have been implemented", to make sure patient notes are completed fully and make it easier for staff to access health records.

The solicitors for Ms Martiza's parents said an apology was still needed, but the trust said it would not comment on that.

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