Belfast Telegraph

Hospital released man days before his death by suicide

The family of a Belfast man who took his own life have criticised a decision to release him from hospital just days before he died.

Belfast Coroner's Court heard that Edward McCallion McCrea died by suicide on April 21, 2007. He stabbed himself in the neck with a kitchen knife in a bedroom of his mother's house.

The 30-year-old had been brought by ambulance to the Mater Hospital after slitting his wrists in the early hours of April 17, but was released later that day. Mr McCrea's sister Catherine told the inquest that she had stayed with her brother from 1.30am when he was admitted until 7.30am and was assured that he would be kept in.

But when the family returned that evening they were told that Mr McCrea, who had a history of depression and anxiety, had been discharged.

Ms McCrea told the court the family were shocked and asked for his medical records along with the names of those who had assessed and discharged him.

Ms McCrea told the inquest: "Edward had no clean clothes as we had taken his clothes, which were covered in blood, home with us. Edward had no phone.

"He was discharged wearing a tracksuit they had given him and made his way with no money from the Crumlin Road to the Glencairn Road."

The hospital said he had been discharged after his physical injuries had been looked at and a psychiatric assessment, which found he did not pose an immediate threat to himself or others.

Dr Maria O'Kane, a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy and adult psychiatry in the Belfast Trust conducted an independent assessment of Mr McCrea's treatment at the hospital and told the court it had been "considered and managed appropriately".

In conclusion Coroner Suzanne Anderson said that she had taken into consideration the family's concerns over the lack of communication from the hospital in relation to Mr McCrea being discharged.

She was also critical of the fact that Mr McCrea's GP had not been informed of his patient's admission to hospital three days before he took his own life.

Belfast Telegraph

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