'Something went drastically wrong' - Family question care of vulnerable Romford man found unconscious in Goodmayes Hospital, inquest hears

Inquest hears into death of Neil Challinor Mooney who died in November 2018.

The family of Neil Challinor-Mooney have raised concerns about his mental health treatment before his death in November 2018. - Credit: The Mooney family

The family of a Romford man have called into question his mental health treatment in the month leading to his death, an inquest has heard.

Barking Town Hall was told that Neil Challinor-Mooney, 51, died on November 18, 2018, after he was found unconscious in his room at Goodmayes Hospital two days before.

The court heard Neil was a vulnerable adult with a diagnosis of schizophrenia but his sister Marie Mooney-Evans testified on Tuesday (May 4) that her brother was managed well for most of his adult life until the months leading up to his death.

Neil, a panel beater, was the eldest of six children and his family said he loved spending time with his nieces and nephews.

The court heard Neil's care was managed by the community health team of North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

It was told that, after having the same care coordinator for many years, he alternated between three different ones which caused him to be very anxious. 

His sister Marie testified that, before then, her brother was the happiest he had been in years -  but both she and Neil raised concerns about the management of his medication.

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The court was told that in October 2018, one month before his death, Neil was admitted to King George Hospital for diabetes treatment.

The inquest heard that Marie raised concerns that the mismanagement of his mental health during this admission caused a significant and rapid decline.

This resulted in his admission to Goodmayes Hospital on November 1.

Marie said: "I think he was grossly let down and something went drastically, drastically wrong.

"We were a family putting him in there (Goodmayes) thinking he'd be better off.

"We feel there were massive, massive failings.

"He was neglected by that ward [Turner Ward at Goodmayes Hospital]."

She told the court that the hospital did not take Neil's suicidal thoughts seriously. 

In August 2018 Neil was diagnosed with pancreatitis at Queen's Hospital and Marie asked the Romford hospital to assess his mental health, because he had been without medication for a week.

"He seemed lethargic and not his usual bouncing self."

The court heard that in October 2018, after being admitted to King George Hospital, Neil had feelings of paranoia, thinking other patients wanted to kill him. 

Marie said: "I spoke to staff daily pointing this out but I felt the doctors' response was very blasé and they would say everything is fine and he was taking his medication.

"After his discharge it was the worst I'd ever seen him."

She recalled how badly his situation had deteriorated when, on November 1, she "frantically" called Goodmayes Hospital and said: "You need to do something or you're going to find him dead.

"Those words haunt me to this day."

The inquest was told that, on the drive to the hospital, Neil was so paranoid that he made Marie take multiple detours because he thought he was being followed and feared for his safety.

It heard Neil was found unconscious in his hospital room more than two weeks later, and died on November 18 at Queen's Hospital. 

His family questioned why Neil's suicidal ideas weren't taken more seriously, as well as the management of Neil's risk to himself while at Goodmayes Hospital.

Marie told the court the family was never informed when he was taken to accident and emergency after falls during his time at Goodmayes.

She said: "We believe, as a family, Neil's death was avoidable.

"When he was admitted to Goodmayes we feel clear and persistent risks to Neil's life were not addressed.

"We are concerned this will happen again unless significant changes are made.

"That's what Neil would want so no other family will have to go through this."

The inquest continues.

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