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Mother attacked by mentally ill son awarded compensation from NHS Trust

A woman who was held at knifepoint and injured by her mentally ill son has been awarded compensation by the NHS Trust responsible for his care

11 December 2014

A woman who was held at knifepoint by her mentally ill son and suffered terrible injuries as a result has been awarded compensation from the NHS Trust who were responsible for the care of her son at the time of the incident.

The incident took place in September 2006 after care workers from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust allowed the woman, known only as Ms M, to be left alone in her home with her son after she had called to have him sectioned.

In a letter of apology from the acting Chief Executive, the Trust acknowledged that there should have been better planning around the treatment of her son who had a long history of psychotic mental illness and a more detailed risk assessment should have taken place.

After Ms M was left alone in the house with her son, he held her hostage, with the use of a knife with a jagged blade approximately 12 inches long, for approximately an hour.

He then marched her at knifepoint out of her house and to a cash point. He then cut her throat.
Following the attack, Ms M was taken by ambulance to the Accident & Emergency Department at Mayday Hospital with a 5 inch laceration to her neck which required stitches inside and out. 

Ms M was advised that her jugular vein had been missed by millimetres.  Had this not been the case, it is likely she would have died.

Ms M still has an unsightly scar on her throat and under her chin that is a permanent, constant reminder of the assault.

Maria Panteli from the medical negligence team at Leigh Day, who represented Ms M, said:

“This was a terrifying incident for my client who thought she was going to die. Whilst it was her son, she knew throughout her ordeal how serious his mental health issues were and she had repeatedly raised her concerns with the Trust about his deteriorating mental health and the fact that he was no longer taking his medication.  She very sadly continues to suffer from the effects of this incident today.

“We are pleased the Trust have apologised but would call on them to ensure they have the procedures in place so that an incident like this can never happen again.”

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