Paul McNeil, medical negligence partner, represented the family of an academic after he committed suicide five days after he was entrusted into the care of a psychiatric unit in Surrey.
Corry Pettet, pictured above with her children
Professor of Law, Benjamin Pettet, aged 50, attempted to commit suicide at home and was taken to Epsom Hospital for treatment on 17 June 2005. He was transferred to the psychiatric ward at the hospital where he was clerked and prescribed medication.
He was not seen by a qualified psychiatrist at any point during his stay at the hospital, although he exhibited signs of schizophrenia and paranoia. He was also at high risk of self harm, which had been recognised by the admitting doctors and nurses. None of the ward staff took account of this.
Over the next few days his condition deteriorated and he became increasingly paranoid. The ward was chaotic and the consultant was on holiday. The junior doctor in charge had no psychiatric qualifications. He unnecessarily delayed the medication and did not order proper supervision and input by the psychiatric nurses.
Paul McNeil was instructed by the family of the deceased. Initially we represented the family at the Inquest. The coroner found that the suicide was contributed to by medical negligence.
We obtained expert advice and alleged that Professor Pettet was not treated properly. He should have been observed closely by the nurses. He should have been assessed regularly by a psychiatrist and his medication shouldn’t have been changed.
In addition, he was moved on his final day, from a single room to a four bed ward. Professor Pettet was a private man and we argued that this had been done without proper assessment and was the catalyst which caused his death.
The claim was settled for £550,000 in October 2009 a few days before the trial.
After the settlement, Professor Pettet's wife said:
"Paul was very gifted in finding just the right people to help him fight the case. The medical experts, the barristers and accountant all showed enormous dedication for their work. It made a sharp contrast to all those who treated my husband in hospital.
"The compensation paid to me as a result of Paul's successful work will enable me to start to relax and stop worrying about my and our children's future".
- You can speak to our clinical negligence solicitors on freephone 0800 358 3848
- e-Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complete our short enquiry form
All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.
Contact us on freephone 0800 358 3848
Or start your claim online.
"The group is praised for its commitment to 'demystifying the legal process' while this is a firm for which the client has always been a priority"
Fieldfisher has successfully been recognised as an "Occupation and Asbestos Disease Specialists" Fieldfisher are now recognised as assessors
Charities we support
Sepsis deaths recorded in hospitals rose by more than a third in two years
In a heart-breaking reminder of the tragedy of sepsis, William Meade's mother Melissa commented in the press this month following a report that sepsis deaths have risen by more than a third in two years.
Caron Heyes reacts to worrying report of death of twins in hospitals
An extremely concerning report from the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba), commissioned by the Department of Health, has revealed that key recommendations to ensure the safety of multiple births are not being followed by many hospitals.
Fieldfisher supports family of pregnant woman who died from sepsis at Basildon Hospital
Following the inquest into the death of Reeta Saidha from sepsis at Basildon Hospital in December 2017, Iona Meeres-Young will pursue a civil claim against the hospital trust on behalf of Mrs Saidha's husband, Bhooshan, and their two daughters.
Fieldfisher attends AvMA's 30th Annual Clinical Negligence Conference
AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) held its 30th Annual Clinical Negligence Conference on 29 and 30 June 2018.