Our thanks to R for emailing us with the following.
Here’s one for you: In today’s Guardian there is a story concerning the death of a woman in prison, apparently by suicide – ‘Sarah Reed was a tragic victim of how the prison system treates women’.
Now we know that the overwhelming majority (90%+) of people who commit suicide in prisons and Young Offender Institutions are men or boys, but given this story is in the Guardian, we cannot be surprised that the female journo (Frances Crook) makes no mention of that fact. Indeed she shows no sympathy whatsoever towards the large number of men and boys who commit suicide whilst in the hands of the criminal justice system.
The thrust of the article is how badly women are treated by the criminal justice system and in prisons, and especially in the context of women with mental health issues…..
But I bring this to your attention, not for the article itself, but for this amazing comment… and I leave to your judgment if a woman would have been treated this way…
“The way in which “difficult” people in this country with mental health issues are treated is scandalous.
I watched my local hospital leave someone to die on the pavement outside and I can’t find anyone in authority who cares, or even admits its a problem.
On Friday night (29th Jan 2016) driving past Frimley Park Hospital my daughter and I observed someone unconscious in a wheelchair in the pouring rain. Thinking it odd we stopped and investigated and found a young man unconscious and unresponsive white from cold with the tips of his fingers an unsettling blue colour. We started pushing him back toward the hospital and met a woman who said she had already reported it to the hospital and “they knew about it” she said they told her “he had been discharged and a porter had pushed him off the property”.
Despite the assurances my assessment is that left in his comatose state he would be hypothermic within an hour and if nobody intervened or he didn’t regain consciousness he could well, given further time, die. We pushed him to the hospital, at A&E admissions they confirmed the story of the lady we had met and said they would not admit him and he should be returned to where we had found him.
Unwilling to be party to leaving someone at best in harms way and at worst to die I advanced the argument that he must be the responsibility of someone (Police, Social services or the Hospital)… I merely had it restated to me that it was not THEIR problem. I then asked 3 times if they felt this was a police issue rather than a hospital issue, I received no answer despite the fact I was clearly heard, as a result I phoned 999. The police were understandably confused about a medical issue being reported when the person involved was already in A&E. The phone was passed to the A&E receptionist who informed the police officer that the person concerned was “known” to local police, had been in 3-4 times already today, had an ASBO and so they had discharged him and taken him off the property. The guy was left in A&E reception with the police and hospital informed.
On getting home and discussing it with my family we could all see that the person involved was probably a very difficult case and we had sympathy with police and hospital staff, but whatever the provocation we could see no justification for leaving someone unconscious, in the rain and cold in the dark next to a main road at severe risk of hypothermia of even death had he not come round. Had he regained consciousness it is likely that he would have been at risk from proximity to the road and passing vehicles or may have been a threat to members of the public.
After sleeping on the issue I decided the following day to report the matter to the police, a statement was taken but I was informed that no action would be taken as it was a hospital matter and not a legal one. I phoned Frimley Park and talked to the senior member in charge who after hearing the story said “and what do you wish me to do about it”, she said she would pass it to the Patient Safety Team but seemed genuinely not to understand why potentially leaving someone to die was an issue. As I do not know the name of the patient I cannot take this up with social services. My attempts to report this through official channels were met with no promise that the issue would be taken seriously and I was frankly made to feel that I was being unreasonable.
I have huge sympathies for the Police and Hospital staff that have to deal with these types of situations daily but I am genuinely shocked that vulnerable members of the community (probably with mental health issues) are being “left to die” on the streets of my home town less than a couple of kilometres from my house.”