Patient died after medication withdrawal

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

During the latter part of 2014, our firm's Madeline Seibert acted for the family of a Witham man who died last June, a few days after being admitted to Chelmsford's Broomfield Hospital with a chest infection. An Inquest at Chelmsford Coroner's Court was held in November and the area coroner recorded that death was due to natural causes. The man's devastated family were not happy with this finding.

The patient, 39-year-old Andrew Pooley, had been diagnosed as schizophrenic at the age of 17 and required ongoing medication for this condition. Last May his supply of clozapine medication had run out and, for unknown reasons, not been replenished. In early June he developed a chest infection and was admitted to hospital.

Nine days later, the patient showed signs of irritation and aggression before suffering a pulmonary embolism. This brought on cardiac arrest and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. Post-mortem findings given as evidence identified a rare link between clozapine and pulmonary embolisms but indicated that any such risk would reduce after withdrawal of the drug.

After the Inquest hearing, Madeline Seibert said this on the family’s behalf:

“Andrew’s family are devastated by his death. They are not happy with the inquest finding of ‘natural causes’. They believe that Andrew was badly let down by the system and that, due to various failings in care, he experienced an unplanned and unmanaged withdrawal of his clozapine medication.

“The family believe that, as a result, Andrew suffered from a significant deterioration in his health and an untimely death. He was previously a cheerful person and a real gentleman. He provided great support to his mother, who he lived with.”

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