Inquest opens into death of patient found hanging outside Brighton hospital

Posted On 06 Dec 2022 at 7:09 pm

An inquest has been opened into the death of a mental health patient who was found hanging outside the accident and emergency (A&E) department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton.

At Brighton and Hove Coroner’s Court today (Tuesday 6 December) coroner’s officer Claire Rogers said that Matty Zak Sheldrick, 29, was found at about 11pm on Friday 4 November.

She said that he was resuscitated and treated in the Royal Sussex, adding: “Matty was known to mental health services.”

He had been in the care of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at the Royal Sussex before being found.

Just over a week later, a scan “showed subtle hypoxic changes in the brain”, the coroner’s officer said. Hypoxic injuries result from a lack of oxygen.

The transgender student, who lived in Vallance Gardens, Hove, was moved to palliative care just over two weeks after being found.

And two days later, Matty Sheldrick died, on Tuesday 22 November, 18 days after being found.

The cause of death was hypoxic brain injury and cardiac arrest, the inquest was told, with a family member having formally identified the body. There was no post-mortem examination.

The coroner Karen Henderson adjourned the inquest for further investigations to be carried out.

Dr Henderson proposed resuming the inquest on Tuesday 11 July next year and offered her condolences to those affected by Matty’s death.

The Clare Project, a trans, non-binary and intersex (TNBI) support charity, spoke out last week about the circumstances.

And Matty’s mother Shelagh Sheldrick said: “Matty was a kind, gentle, creative soul who was reaching out for a place of safety and support to help manage his tormented mind.

“The options in mental health services for most and particularly for Matty as a neurodivergent trans person are minimal.

“This caused them additional distress which contributed to their tragic death in the place he was supposed to be kept safe and cared for.

“Matty’s death has left his loving family, friends and community devastated.”

Matty Sheldrick and Lola

Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust is understood to have started a serious incident review.

Last week, the trust said: “We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Matty Sheldrick and all those affected by their death.

“The circumstances leading up to what happened will be investigated fully with our NHS partners and the findings will be shared with their family when complete.

“As is normal practice, the investigation report will also be shared with the coroner to assist her investigation.”

And today the Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Adults Board said: “The eligibility criteria for a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR) under the Care Act is when an adult dies as a result of abuse or neglect, whether known or suspected, and there is concern that partner agencies could have worked together more effectively to protect the adult. This criteria would apply in any setting, including hospitals.

“We have not received a SAR referral at this point. A SAR would ordinarily only be undertaken following the conclusion of any statutory (ie, police, local authority or NHS) enquiries or investigations (eg, police criminal investigation, section 42 safeguarding inquiry or serious incident review).”

Anyone feeling suicidal or in emotional distress can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 or at the local rate on 0330 094 5717. Advice and information are available for those with thoughts of suicide from Grassroots Suicide Prevention or Preventing Suicide in Sussex. There also apps such as Stay Alive and Papyrus UK.

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