A coroner is to investigate the referral system between health care bodies in Sandwell following the death of a 35-year-old woman discovered in bushes outside a hospital.
Angela Wade, of Aaron Manby Court in Princes End, Tipton, died from breathing difficulties caused by a chest infection.
Her body was found in overgrowth by security staff at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley on January 5, 2012. Miss Wade, who had spinal scoliosis and general neurological disease, was last seen on December 20, 2011 after she was discharged from the hospital following treatment for self-harm.
At an inquest in Dudley yesterday, Senior Coroner Robin Balmain was told that she was assessed by a psychiatric doctor on November 18 after she took an overdose. Dr Behrouz Babavi, of Hallam Street Hospital in West Bromwich, said it was believed the overdose was a ‘cry for help’ and she was referred to the emergency duty team at adult social care at Sandwell Council.
She was also referred to the Black Country NHS Foundation Trust. Team leader Paulette James told the hearing an assessment was carried out on the evening of November 18, when Miss Wade said she was having difficulty with her disability.
Further assessments were carried out on her by Ms James’s team for three more days, before she was discharged by the team.
In a letter to Mr Balmain, the adult social care team at Sandwell Council said they had been unable to get in contact with Miss Wade following the referral at the overdose. Mr Balmain said: “This lady has died of natural causes.” He added that the psychiatric liaison team claimed Miss Wade’s case had not been referred back to them, despite social services saying it had.
He said: “I need to get to the bottom of that. It may not have impacted this lady’s death, but if systems are set up, I need to ensure they work properly. There is the possibility that in this case they didn’t.”
Mr Balmain adjourned the hearing to get more information from the council’s adult social care team and psychiatric liaison team.
Miss Wade’s mother Carole Wade said: “I miss her so much, she would have helped anyone despite her difficulties.” Miss Wade attended St Mary Magdalene School in West Bromwich. She was unemployed.