Fieldfisher Solicitors represented Mrs McInulty’s husband, Terence McInulty and her daughter, Marie Coulter in relation to the inquest into the death of Mrs McInulty. The inquest was reopened on 2 April 2013 and concluded with the Coroner, Mr Andrew Walker, recording a narrative verdict.
The inquest found there were ‘failures at every level’ in the care of Sheila McInulty, 64, who died from a lethal overdose of prescription medication in February 2011.
Sheila McInulty had made a number of suicide attempts since 2006 when following a traumatic event she began suffering from an acute episode of psychotic depression. A psychiatrist report recommended extended rehabilitation for the grandmother, with the aim that she would be able to return home. However, a funding decision by NHS Barnet and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust meant that Mrs McInulty was discharged home early from the Mountview residential unit in Northwood.
The Coroner in the narrative verdict concluded:
“In a performance review in July 2009 Mrs McInulty was identified as one of two patients whose care was over budget and the senior commissioning manager for NHS Barnet suggested that were they to be discharged early it would have a significant benefit on performance…..There was ample evidence available from the clinical staff that to move Mrs McInulty from the residential care home was not in Mrs McInulty’s interest and for her to move out may cause harm and interrupt the well thought out rehabilitation care package." The Coroner found that Mrs McInulty’s death was contributed to by neglect.
Fieldfisher Solicitors Said:
“Mrs McInulty’s death and the information that has subsequently come out regarding her care has made this a difficult and distressing time for my clients. They welcome this inquest which carefully examined what happened. They are pleased with the verdict recorded by the Coroner. A decision about whether a patient should be discharged and when such a discharge takes place should be driven only by what is right for that patient’s care and never by a need to make budget cuts."
Marie Coulter, Mrs McInulty’s daughter, adds:
"My mum just wanted to get better and she was getting there until that fatal decision in September 2010. The last two years have been a difficult and emotional journey into finding the truth about my mum's death and I am relieved it's all over. We are now trying desperately to rebuild our lives and to try to make sense of how this trail of catastrophic failures in her care were allowed to happen and why. I hope that my mum's death will not be in vain and that positive changes will be made so that this can never happen to another family ever again."
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