Widow Of King’s Lynn Man Speaks Out On Mental Health Struggles


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Retired Nurse Reveals She Was “Hurt And Disappointed” By Care Given To Husband As Inquest Concludes

The widow of a King’s Lynn man who died after being found injured on a beach has spoken out after an inquest into his death concluded.

Timothy Wood was 62 when he was found semi-conscious and motionless by a member of the public on Hunstanton beach in March 2020.  He had a fractured leg, and it was thought he had jumped from a nearby cliff top.  He was airlifted to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In the weeks leading up to his death, Timothy had been known to mental health services through the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Trust and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Following his death, Timothy’s wife Isabella, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care he had received prior to the tragedy.

An inquest this week concluded that Timothy died from suicide.

A serious incident report conducted by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust found that there was a “clinical disconnection” between the Trusts.

Expert Opinion

“It has been an incredibly difficult time for Isabella, who has struggled with trying to deal with losing her husband.

Timothy’s sudden death has had such a profound effect on his loved ones, and they understandably had concerns over the care he received before he died and whether enough was done to help him with his mental health struggles.

While nothing will bring Timothy back, Isabella hopes that lessons are learned, so that other families don’t have to suffer the pain she has.”

Amie Minns – Solicitor

Timothy and Isabella had been married for 28 years.  Isabella has a daughter, Sarah, from a previous relationship.

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Following Timothy’s death, Isabella said: “The past 10 months have been unbearable, and I now have to face living the rest of my life without my husband. He was my soul mate.

“I feel that Tim’s death could have been avoided.  I am hurt and disappointed at the care Timothy received.  I know he had mental health issues in the lead up to his death, but I genuinely believe that if he had received proper support he would still be here.

“As a former nurse for the NHS, I find this particularly difficult to say, but I am determined that changes need to be made so no other family has to suffer what we have.”

Background

Isabella, a retired critical care nurse, said Timothy, also retired, had no history of mental health issues until last year.  When Isabella suffered a heart attack in October, she said it had a lasting negative impact on Timothy.  She recalled that he had “become terrified of being left on his own.”

On that same day of Isabella’s heart attack, the nephew of Timothy’s best friend died in a car accident.  Timothy’s mental health further deteriorated, with him unable to stop thoughts of “death and loneliness.”

She said he was also affected by the sudden death of Caroline Flack in February, particularly after learning it was down to suicide.

In addition, Timothy had been complaining of physical pains throughout his body, including abdominal pains, and was prescribed medication from his GP.

On 24 February, Isabella discovered Timothy passed out on the sofa.  He had taken an overdose, and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance where he was placed on a medical assessment before being transferred to a general ward.

Isabella said Timothy tried to take his own life at least twice more while in hospital and was deemed high risk and watched by the nurses at all times.

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Timothy continued to complain of abdominal pains.  A serious incident report carried out by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundations Trust stated that a mental health consultant based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital believed Timothy’s “suicidal ideation was linked directly to his abdominal pain.”  A CT scan was carried out, which came back normal.

On 27 February a Consultant Psychiatrist for NSFT informed a treating clinician for Queen Elzabeth Hospital that Timothy was at risk of ending his life and that, if he was discharged home, he may attempt to end his life due to the absence of pain relief. Unfortuantley, Timothy was discharged from hospital on 28 February without further input from the mental health team and despite his abdominal pain remaining unresolved 

Isabella said after the inquest at Norwich Coroner’s Court: “I was very concerned that he was not in a fit state to be coming home and I made my reservations clear to hospital staff, but I was reassured that it was safe.

“I felt utterly abandoned and scared for Timothy’s safety and wellbeing.”

After discharge Timothy had one call with a mental health nurse, on 5 March 2020.

On 10 March, Isabella found Timothy rummaging round downstairs at 5.30am.  She said he “seemed okay” so she went back to bed an hour later.  When she woke a second time, she couldn’t find him and also noticed the car keys were gone.  She recalled feeling “a wave of dread” as she suspected Timothy had “done something to hurt himself.”

Isabella’s fears were confirmed when Timothy was discovered on a nearby beach. His car was found near a cliff edge.

Attempts were made to resuscitate him, but sadly he died from the traumatic injuries he had sustained.

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