Blind cancer patient died after fall from balcony of assisted care flat, hearing told
A blind cancer patient died after falling from the balcony of his flat in an assisted care complex, a pre-inquest review has heard.
The body of Mark Williams was discovered outside Potters Court, run by Apex Care, in Southampton on November 9 2021.
The hearing in Winchester was told that the 60-year-old had been discharged from University Hospital Southampton (UHS) after being treated for lymphoma shortly before his death.
His daughters, Lucy and Jessie, have made a complaint to Hampshire Constabulary over how their father’s death was handled, and the hearing was told this is still being dealt with.
Speaking to Mr Williams’ daughters, who attended the hearing, coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said: “I wanted to offer my condolences to the family. I am very sorry for your loss and the nature of your loss.”
Describing the circumstances of Mr Williams’ death, she said: “Mark Williams was 60 years old, he was living at an assisted care facility called Potters Court, and he was there because of two issues.
“He had a background of mental health problems, including schizophrenia, and he was completely blind in the left eye and severely visually impaired in the right eye.
“He was struggling to live at home, even with a package of care, which is why he moved to Potters Court.
“He moved in June and in the autumn he was diagnosed as suffering from lymphoma.
“Unfortunately his physical condition deteriorated quite markedly.
“Then, tragically, he fell, we think, from his balcony, although the circumstances aren’t definitely known, and he was found on the ground underneath the balcony, deceased.
“The last time his daughters saw him was the day before. His was an unexpected and unnatural death in the community.”
Ms Rhodes-Kemp added that there were no witnesses to the fall.
The hearing was told that one of the issues to be looked at by the full inquest will be whether a full care package had been put in place for Mr Williams when he was discharged from UHS.
The coroner said that toxicology tests during the post-mortem examination showed that Mr Williams had the highest level of cannabis in his blood that she had seen in her career as a coroner.
Chris Canning, representing the family, said Mr Williams used THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) pills to “kill his pain”.
Ms Rhodes-Kemp said medication for his mental health issues would be an issue for the inquest, and added: “There are references to Mr Williams becoming very psychotic when not taking his medication correctly, and that goes back a long way.”
The hearing was adjourned for a full inquest to be held at a later date.
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