Kent

Bedford and East London hospitals pay out after man's flat block fall death

Tony Collins Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Tony Collins died in a fall from the eighth floor of a flat block

A man admitted to hospital after trying take his own life was allowed to wheel himself off a ward, before falling to his death from a block of flats.

Tony Collins had been diagnosed with depression in 2006 and 2018 his mental health deteriorated further.

The 41-year-old was allowed to pass nurses before his death in November 2018, his inquest in July heard.

Two hospital trusts denied liability but a five-figure settlement was agreed.

Girlings Personal Injury Claims, which were instructed in the medical negligence claim, said Mr Collins first attended the A&E department at Bedford Hospital in September 2018 with suicidal thoughts. Despite medical records showing he was mentally unwell, he was forced to go on home leave.

Image caption He was seen on CCTV moments before he fell to his death

He struggled with breakdowns, paranoia, panic attacks and chest pains until on 30 October 2018 he fell from a multi-storey car park and broke both his feet.

Mr Collins, from Sevenoaks in Kent, was discharged on 26 November 2018, despite continued suicidal thoughts, his inquest was told.

On 29 November 2018 he was escorted to and from Addenbrooke's Hospital for further physical investigations during which he suffered a severe panic attack, and he returned to Bedford Hospital in a distressed state.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mr Collins was allowed to wheel himself out of a ward at Bedford Hospital

His inquest heard that the next day he wheeled himself out of the ward, past the nurses' station, and on to the eighth floor of a block of flats behind Bedford Hospital.

Mr Collins was not reported as missing by staff until almost three hours later.

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust apologised to Mr Collins's family and claimed lessons had been learned and improvements made to its services.

East London NHS Foundation Trust also claimed to have learned lesson from Mr Collins's death.

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