"A SCOTS hospital has been shamed after a distressed patient was “inhumanely” locked in a cell for hours without food, water, or toilet facilities.
|my son Daniel (photo from Express website)|
Stratheden Hospital, a mental health unit, has been heavily criticised by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) following a string of failures.
The watchdog also reported that staff at the NHS facility dragged terrified Daniel Muirhead between wards in just his underwear and failed to appropriately monitor his wellbeing after he was dumped in a seclusion room.
The Sunday Express understands the findings, which follow a year-long probe, will be handed to police for further investigation.
Last night furious patient campaigners expressed their shock and disgust at the 11-page SPSO dossier, describing the treatment as “cruel”.
Mr Muirhead, who is now in better health, insisted psychiatric wards are “doing more harm than good”.
The 29-year-old, who suffered depression in the past, was admitted to Stratheden on February 1, 2012, for assessment.
During this time, his behaviour became erratic and, according to doctors’ notes, “increasingly agitated” and “aggressive”.
The papers suggest Mr Muirhead was restrained after allegedly setting fire to bedding and he was held under a short-term detention certificate. (he was actually face-down restrained before this, by 3 nurses in Lomond Ward)
In the aftermath, he broke his hand on a wall and was sedated before being transferred, via minibus, to the Fife facility’s Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit (IPCU) while barefoot and wearing boxer shorts. Waking up, he found himself in the unit’s seclusion room, where he spent “a number of hours” without food, running water or a toilet.
Staff failed to respond to his repeated calls to use a bathroom and he then staged a dirty protest.
Mr Muirhead claims that when staff entered the seclusion room, a separate incident took place. The allegation cannot be reported for legal reasons and is also expected to be reported to police.
The sociology graduate, who was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, described his experience as “inhumane”.
“There was no running water, no toilet and no means of communicating with the nursing staff,” he said.
Responding to a raft of complaints lodged by Mr Muirhead’s mum Chrys, the SPSO last week ruled his treatment was “not acceptable”.
The report reads: “It was inappropriate to transfer your son to the IPCU in his underwear and without shoes. In addition, I do not consider that the observation or supervision of your son in the seclusion room was adequate or that there is evidence of a plan to ensure that your son had appropriate access to food, fluids and a toilet during his period of seclusion.”
Dr Jean Turner, of the Scotland Patients Association, expressed “shock” and said she backed the family’s plans to report the alleged human rights abuses to police.
“This is no way to treat anyone, mental illness or not,” she said.
“I don’t know what they were thinking; transferring someone with just their underpants on, and it is cruel to lock someone up for that amount of time without food or water.
“It is inhumane.”
While Mr Muirhead and his family are satisfied with the SPSO’s findings, they reject some “inaccuracies” within the report.
Mrs Muirhead, who is now a mental health campaigner, said: “They say that Daniel was aggressive but he wasn’t, that was said just to justify the force they used.”
Mother and son now refuse to accept the bipolar diagnosis, but Mrs Muirhead admits her son suffered “an episode of psychosis”.
They also insist the SPSO should have upheld other parts of the complaint, including claims staff should have dealt with Mr Muirhead’s broken hand more quickly.
Mr Muirhead, who admits he was suffering “mental distress” at the time, weaned himself off anti-psychosis drugs. He has since graduated in sociology from the University of Abertay.
Despite his recovery, he is angry at the “dehumanising” way he was treated.
He added: “The system is purporting to take care of patients and provide therapy but, in reality, they are treating patients in an undignified manner, as sub-humans.”
NHS Fife has apologised to the family and carried out a review."
I am very proud of my son for speaking out.