Woman tried to hang herself at Weston General Hospital days before her death

Weston Area Health NHS Trust was not criticised for the care Emma Stevens received.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust was not criticised for the care Emma Stevens received. - Credit: Archant

A North Somerset woman with mental health difficulties almost hanged herself in Weston General Hospital’s emergency department, an inquest was told.

Emma Stevens, aged 26, had a history of self-harming, overdosing and trying to hang herself before she was admitted to hospital with ‘alcohol intoxication’ in June.

After being treated by a first-year trainee doctor, and seen by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust staff (AWP), Emma was about to hang herself when nurses discovered her.

Emma was released a day later after recovering from her drinking and following a review by AWP staff who felt she did not require sectioning. However, she hanged herself at a supported housing complex in Clevedon two days later.

At last week’s inquest, Emma’s grandfather Donald McCallum said: “When she was younger, Emma was the life and soul of the party.

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“Aside from the dark periods, she was frequently happy and extrovert.”

Emma spent parts of her childhood and adult life living in Weston but moved to The Belmont complex in February.

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The final week of her life saw Emma make several attempts to kill herself, including on June 10. Paramedics were called, but she refused to go to hospital.

Three days later she was admitted to Weston hospital after collapsing in the street, which medics put down to alcohol.

She was seen by Dr Lucy Haydock who told Avon Coroner’s Court on December 14 Emma admitted having ‘suicidal thoughts’. She referred Emma to AWP and while under its care the 26-year-old tried to hang herself in the hospital.

Emma was unharmed but remained there for 24 hours while she recovered from her drinking.

She returned home on June 14, despite telling mental health nurses she would try to kill herself again.

Daily visits from AWP professionals were scheduled, but because Emma claimed she was fine when they phoned, no-one visited her the day before her death.

She was then found dead by The Belmont employee Janette Gaunt on June 16.

Assistant coroner Robert Sowersby concluded: “The deceased made apparent suicide attempts on June 10 and 13, the latter in the emergency department of Weston General Hospital.

“She was assessed three times at the hospital by mental health professionals and was discharged on June 14 with a planned programme of care from the intensive support team, including home visits.

“She received a single home visit, on June 14, and on June 16 was found dead in her flat having hanged herself.”

An AWP spokesman offered its condolences to Emma’s family.

They said: “As the inquest heard, Emma did not want to be admitted to hospital and her care plan reflected this.

“Service users are involved as much as possible in planning their care to ensure it is effective and centred around their individual needs.

“We made daily contact as planned. On June 15 an intensive support worker contacted Emma who said she had found the conversation helpful and did not require a visit that day. This was judged to be reasonable as part of her ongoing care plan.”

A spokesman for Weston Area Health NHS Trust added: “This is an absolutely tragic situation and our deepest sympathies lie with Emma’s family at this time.

“Our staff did everything in their power to care for Emma in the days before her death and this was recognised by the coroner.”

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