Sussex

Kate Stamp 'assaulted by staff' at The Dene psychiatric hospital

Katharine Stamp Image copyright Stella Burgess
Image caption Kate Stamp was found dead at a private psychiatric hospital in 2015

A patient who died at a private psychiatric hospital was assaulted by a member of staff, her family has told an inquest into her death.

Kate Stamp, 30, died at The Dene hospital, West Sussex, in March 2015.

Her mother, Stella Burgess, told Crawley Coroner's Court a care assistant was prosecuted for hitting her daughter's head against a wall and stamping on her in 2014.

A post-mortem test revealed her cause of death was aspiration pneumonia.

Anti-psychotic drug Clozapine may have contributed to her death, the inquest has previously heard.

Aspiration pneumonia is a complication of pulmonary aspiration - when food, stomach acid or saliva is inhaled into the lungs.

Mrs Burgess told the court she had been "worried beyond belief that Kate was not getting the medical attention she required".

Image copyright Google
Image caption Crawley Coroner's Court heard Clozapine likely contributed to Ms Stamp's death

Her daughter's physical and mental health had deteriorated drastically in the weeks leading up to her death, she added.

"I am concerned that Kate did not receive adequate health care. We [the family] feel strongly that Kate's death was avoidable."

Her sister, Eleanor Stamp, said she had a persistent cough and had gained a lot of weight when she visited the family home for Christmas in 2014.

"She complained she felt unwell lots of times in the run up to her death, which was very unusual," she told the inquest.

"She should have been given medical attention and sent to hospital."

Ms Stamp, who had been sectioned and admitted to The Dene in September 2012, had a history of periodic chest infections and coughs, the court heard.

She also had sleep apnoea - where breathing stops and starts during sleep. It is more common in people who are "morbidly obese", like Ms Stamp, the inquest was told.

Ms Stamp's sister said she had asked staff to work with her on a diet but added "no-one seemed to care".

Consultant respiratory physician Dr Norman Johnson told the court he believed a combination of the conditions caused Ms Stamp to suffer a sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

The inquest continues.

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