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Father released from hospital “too soon” commits suicide

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

The son of a man who had just been informed that he was terminally ill, has told an inquest that he believes that his father, Mr Richard Middleton aged 83 from Aberystwyth, was released from hospital too soon. He also claims that not enough home support was offered to Mr Middleton, who subsequently took his own life as he couldn’t find a way to cope with his situation. 

Mr Middleton was released into the care of his 86 year-old wife in November of 2014, and was found drowned in the River Rheidol on 15 January of this year. The Coroner, Peter Brunton, recorded a verdict of suicide.

Only one follow-up phone call

It was whilst waiting for an ambulance to take him home, after being discharged from Glangwili General Hospital, that Mr Middleton was told that his cancer was terminal.  Mr Middleton, who had undergone treatment for bowel cancer, was very weak and finding it difficult to walk. He asked for some help to cope with his situation, but only received one follow-up phone call in January to ask him to make an appointment. Mr Middleton committed suicide that day.

The Coroner stated that he felt satisfied that Mr Middleton had taken his own life, adding that he had shown “a great deal of determination and reserve” to get out of bed and dress in the middle of the night, then drive the two miles from home to reach the river. He also confirmed that Mr Middleton had left notes for his family saying that he felt this was the only way out and he couldn’t see any other way to cope with his situation.

The local health board assured the inquiry that it would be examining the case to see what lessons could be learned.

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