Fenton inquest: Expert has 'concerns' over medical care

Fenton inquest: Expert has 'concerns' over medical care

James FentonImage copyright
Fenton family

Image caption

James Fenton’s body was discovered on hospital grounds, less than 40m from the ward

The inquest into the death of a man who died after leaving a hospital ward has heard from an expert in psychiatry that he has concerns about his care.

Professor Seena Fazel, a forensic psychiatrist at Oxford University, was giving evidence about 22-year-old James Fenton.

Mr Fenton had agreed to be admitted to the Ulster Hospital in July 2010.

He then climbed over the wall of a smoking area.

Despite police searches, his body lay undiscovered in the hospital grounds for 10 weeks.

‘Not appropriate’

Giving evidence by video link, Professor Fazel repeated the views of a report he wrote for the Coroner’s Office in March 2015, and stated that he had “a number of concerns about Mr Fenton’s medical care”.

In it he said he believed that James was likely to have been clinically depressed, that he should have been diagnosed as such on assessment at the ward, and that he should have been monitored more closely.

“I do not think that placing Mr Fenton on routine observation was an appropriate decision,” he said.

He also repeated his belief that James most likely took his own life.

He further stated he felt that the junior doctor who first assessed Mr Fenton should have discussed her findings and actions formally with senior psychiatric colleagues.

She has previously told the court she did have an informal conversation with senior colleagues about what she had done.


On Wednesday, two other senior consultant psychiatrists told the court they disagreed with Professor Fazel’s conclusions.

They were Dr Nial Quigley, the Director of Mental Health services at the South Eastern Trust, and Dr Neta Chada, a consultant psychiatrist at the neighbouring Southern Trust.

Both doctors’ evidence supported the diagnosis and level of observation chosen by the clinical staff at the Ulster Hospital.

Professor Fazel told a barrister for the Fenton family that in one matter, Dr Quigley had “cherry-picked a lot of evidence that supported his view”.

Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland

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