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Suicide patient shot himself on hospital ward

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The hospital where a patient shot himself dead after asking for the curtains surrounding his bed to be closed is reviewing security.

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust made the announcement following the death of the 63-year-old man who was found by nurses with a single gunshot wound to his head yesterday morning.

Benham ward, were the incident took place, was occupied by 27 other patients at the time, but there were no other injuries.

The trust is now working with police to carry out a full investigation and the general medical ward was reopened at 5pm yesterday.

Dr Sonia Swart, NGH medical director, said: ‘Patients and staff on the ward had been offered psychological support.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Not knowing why this patient was admitted to hospital, it is difficult to comment on the events that have taken place.

    Whatever the reason for his admission, it is not hard to believe that he was able to keep a gun hidden from staff. These days when people are admitted, there are very few checking procedures to ensure that not only is the individual keep safe but also the other patients, staff and visitors.

    If he was admitted for a psychiatric reason, then certain checks should have been carried out particularly if he was suffering from a depressive illness. Not wanting to criticise anyone, l do hope that the hospital authorities don't just review their security procedures, but also their assessment of risks, when they are dealing with patients who may have a psychiatric problem when they are being admitted to a general unit..

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  • I have worked in psychiatry for 30 years and am never suprised when a patient commits suicide. More often than not it is the one patient you least expect. Despite having collapsable rails and other safety measures such as searching patients, if a person is determined and not communicating this to staff they are likely to succeed. I would only hope that management do not react to this in the usual 'knee jerk' manner but look at this as an individual case and treat this accordingly. My question would be when reviewing the case is how often has this happened, and how likely is it going to happen in the future?

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