1 Mar 2012

Hospital criticised over patient suicide

6:00 pm on 1 March 2012

A Coroner has criticised Lower Hutt Hospital over the suicide of a psychiatric patient who was allowed home for weekend leave without an up-to-date mental health examination.

Wellington Coroner Garry Evans says Kirk Whittington, 36, was not fit to be sent home.

He said Mr Whittington was being treated at Lower Hutt hospital for chronic paranoid schizophrenia in June 2008 when he was allowed to go to his parent's home despite objections by his mother and a nurse's clinical note that said he should first be re-examined.

Mr Whittington killed himself two days later.

The Hutt Valley District Health Board says a clinical plan now must be done before acute mental patients are given leave.