Admitted to hospital for depression – two weeks later Jonathan Malia was dead - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

Admitted to hospital for depression – two weeks later Jonathan Malia was dead

Family demand answers over death of relative under psychiatric care

The family of a 24-year-old man who died days after being sectioned have demanded information about his final hours – amid growing concern about the number of black men dying in custody.

Jonathan Andel Malia, an otherwise-healthy father-of-one from Bartley Green, Birmingham, voluntarily attended hospital on 4 January after struggling with depression. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and transferred to two further hospitals before suddenly collapsing two weeks later at the Cygnet Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Initial reports from the coroner suggest he died from a "massive pulmonary embolism" on 17 January. But his family say they want to know exact details of his drug treatment and whether any restraining techniques were used in the run-up to his death. Their calls come at a time of increasing concern about how black and ethnic minority patients suffering from mental-health issues are treated by the authorities, following a string of deaths in police custody and hospitals.

Speaking to The Independent, Mr Malia's aunt Michelle Fullerton said her family wanted to know how someone who had gone into hospital physically healthy could deteriorate so rapidly.

"We just want to make sure we put an end to this," she said. "He died needlessly. We want answers to come out and recommendations to be made."

Miss Fullerton, the sister of Jonathan's mother who has since been hospitalised over the stress of losing her son, said the family had been left "heart-broken" by his death. She described him as a fit and healthy man who loved playing sport and going to the gym.

"He was such a fun-loving, manageable, intelligent young man," she said. "He was studying to be a sports therapist. It is such a shame all these things happened and he didn't get to fulfil his dreams."

Miss Fullerton said Jonathan had been sectioned once – before shortly after his son was born four years ago. "He'd not been on any medication for a year and a half," she said. "But he saw the symptoms coming back said he wanted help first. I think he thought he'd just get home treatment but instead he was sectioned."

An inquest has been ordered and Cygnet Hospital is awaiting the results of its own internal inquiry. According to Miss Fullerton, Jonathan was moved from Queen Elizabeth to Meadowcroft Psychiatric Unit in the city on the second day of his detention. When his girlfriend Sarah Crawford inquired after him, staff claimed that he was "being aggressive".

On 7 January he was transferred 97 miles to the Chamberlain Ward in Cygnet Hospital, a unit that specialises in treating patients with "an acute episode of mental illness that requires assessment and stabilisation".

Over the course of the next 10 days, Miss Crawford made daily phone calls to find out about his health but was denied access and was told by staff that he was not in a fit state to come to the phone. On 17 January she was told that he had collapsed and had been rushed to the nearby Lister Hospital. He was pronounced dead that day.

In a statement, Cygnet Hospital said it was close to completing a report into Mr Malia's death which would be handed on to the coroner. "Nothing is more important to us than the well-being of those who use our services," the hospital said in a statement. "Whilst we await the final reports we believe that we did all that we could to look after Mr Malia. We have met Mr Malia's family and remain available to speak with them and answer any questions they might have."

Campaigners have long criticised the way hospitals largely investigate themselves following the death of a patient and there is particular concern about the treatment of black and ethnic minority patients suffering mental health episodes. Last year, after years of campaigning for an inquest, a jury found police used unsuitable levels of force to restrain Sean Rigg, a schizophrenic man who died in custody in 2008.

A Cygnet Hospital spokesman said: "We take concerns seriously that there are a disproportionate number of issues regarding members of the African-Caribbean community who enter the mental-health care system. Whilst the level of care that we provide is of the highest standard for everyone, the national statistics demonstrate that close attention needs to be given to this issue."

Mentally ill dying much younger due to neglect

Thousands of people with mental illness are dying prematurely because their physical health is being neglected by the NHS.

Official figures published on Wednesday show the death rate among the 1.5 million people who received treatment in the last year is nearly four times higher than the general population.

The findings, from the most comprehensive analysis of data held by the NHS, expose the chasm that exists between sufferers from physical and mental illnesses. Campaigners said the difference in death rates was "frightening".

The Health and Social Care Information Centre said mortality among mental health service users aged 19 and over was 3.6 times higher than the general population in 2010-11.

The higher overall death rate was also seen in the so-called "lifestyle" diseases of the heart, lungs and digestive system. Deaths from heart disease were two and a half times higher and deaths from respiratory and digestive diseases around four times higher among people with mental illness.

Smoking is common among people with severe mental illness and many also self-medicate with alcohol and drugs such as cannabis. Anti-psychotic drugs prescribed for their illness can cause rapid weight gain. But these side effects are often overlooked or ignored by the NHS.

Simon Lawton Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation said: "This data reveals with frightening clarity the inequalities in health experienced by people with a mental illness, leading to the premature death of thousands of people every year."

Jeremy Laurance

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

    Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

    Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

    £26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

    Retail Business Analyst

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week