Matt Groom inquest: family considers legal action after hospital failings

Matt Groom

Matt Groom - Credit: Archant

The father of Matt Groom has said he will “never forgive” those tasked with his care at Whittington Hospital.

On June 15, 36-year-old Mr Groom threw himself in front of a lorry on the M11 near Debden. He had spent over six-and-a-half hours waiting for a mental health assessment in the Archway hospital, where he grew increasingly agitated and eventually psychotic.

As the assessment was carried out, Mr Groom walked out and then ran from the hospital. On Thursday, as reported by the Gazette, coroner Mary Hassell said failings at the hospital prevented him receiving life-saving treatment.

In a statement, Mr Groom, 61, originally from Islington but now living in France, said the family is considering legal action.

He said: “It confirms what we have felt from the beginning of this nightmare. There was a complete failure of a duty of care towards our beloved son during the terrible seven hours he spent at the Whittington on the day of his death.

“It was a catalogue of errors and missed opportunities which cost our son his life.

“If security had been alerted, they would have seen Matt briefly return to the outside of the Whittington and could have helped persuade Matt to return.

Most Read

“No one helped my brother, John, when he had to hold onto Matt to try to stop him running away, and John had to run after Matt on his own. It was a disgrace and terribly upsetting to watch on the CCTV.”

Mr Groom is calling on Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn to flag “failing performances” of mental health trusts with Prime Minister David Cameron.

He added: “We have lost our brilliant, beautiful, and funny son who was a highly qualified criminal lawyer with a great future ahead of him.

“We believe his death was avoidable if medical staff had done their jobs properly. We will never forgive them.

“Nothing will bring Matt back, but we hope lessons are learned, so that no other family has to go through what we have.

“We will now officially complain about Matt’s appalling treatment on the day he died and may take civil legal action against those we feel failed him when he needed them most.”

Trusts apologise to Mr Groom’s family

A spokesperson for Whittington Health said: “We would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Matt Groom.

“The inquest carried out by the coroner identified issues for Whittington Health to consider in the future. The coroner issued a prevention of future death report with a requirement to respond by January 11.

“We will continue to work closely with all agencies involved and will respond to the report and its recommendations.

“We apologise unreservedly to Matt Groom’s family.”

A Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust statement read: “Mr Groom attended the A&E department at the Whittington Hospital and was seen by our mental health liaison team. Unfortunately, during the course of his assessment, Mr Groom left the department and did not return despite attempts to complete the assessment.

“Following the coroner’s ruling, we will be working closely with colleagues at the Whittington Hospital. It is our priority that we continue to ensure that our patients, service users and their families receive the most appropriate and effective care possible and that we work closely with our partner agencies.

“The trust is extremely sorry about Mr Groom’s tragic death and would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”