Self-harming OAP died from blood loss

A CORONER has called for greater monitoring of patients with mental health problems after a pensioner killed himself just two months after telling his doctor he had stopped taking his medication.

Ronald Evans (78) died at his home in Corbyn Shaw Road, Gaywood, in February after suffering a severe blood loss caused by multiple self-inflicted incision wounds to his forearms.

An inquest at Lynn County Court on Friday heard he had suffered a history of depression and after receiving a combination of community care and treatment at the town's Chatterton House mental health facility was discharged in November.

A month later he met Dr Kurma Rao, a consultant psychiatrist at Chatterton House, and during their discussion he said he had stopped taking his medication.

But senior community health nurse Mark Howard, who had also been involved in caring for Mr Evans, told the hearing he was not told of the situation when he met with Dr Rao and his team just days later.

Greater Norfolk Coroner Mr William Armstrong said the medication issue was a major factor which should have led to greater monitoring and now hopes that lessons can be drawn from such a tragic death.

Mr Evans first received treatment at Chatterton House in November 2006, after his friend and neighbour Merle Marles found him slumped in his doorway with cuts on his arms and a knife in his hand.

Miss Marles had been friends with Mr Evans for around 20 years and visited him regularly at his home each evening.

On February 25 she called her friend but received no response and when she tried again the following day there was still no answer.

After becoming increasingly concerned for his well being she called the police.

When officers arrived they found the body of Mr Evans lying on the floor in blood-soaked pyjamas.

Dr Rao said Mr Evans had regular appointments at Chatterton House and also received extensive support from its community team.

He said: "He always came across as generally engaged. But the thing was, he was lonely, bored and despondent and could not really see a future."

Mr Evans was discharged from the team's care in November 2007 but when he met his doctor a month later he told him he had stopped taking his medication.

But Dr Rao was encouraged by talk of the friendship Mr Evans had with his neighbour and tried to persuade him to resume his medication or be admitted to hospital but could not be sectioned at the time.

The inquest heard that a full investigation of the case has since been carried out and recommendations have now been made for patients who stop taking medication to have closer monitoring in the community.

Mr Armstrong said he would be sending a report to the mental health trust to ensure the recommendations are complied with and recorded a verdict of suicide while suffering with a depressive illness.