INDEPENDENT NEWS

Family of Nicky Stevens make complaint to the Police

Published: Fri 24 Apr 2015 11:41 AM
Statement by family of Nicky Stevens about their complaint to the Police
The family of Nicky Stevens have decided to make formal statements to Police about the negligence of Waikato DHB's Henry Bennett Centre in caring for their son and brother.
Nicky was an inpatient of the Henry Bennett Centre, placed there by DHB officials under a compulsory care order, following Mental Health Act provisions, for 3 weeks until 9th March when he disappeared after being let out of the Hospital buildings and grounds unsupervised.
Nicky was in Hospital because he had tried to end his own life, a serious attempt that required seven hours of urgent surgery. While recovering in the Henry Bennett Centre, he was given unsupervised 'leave' without family knowledge and again attempted to end his life by drowning in the nearby Waikato River.
When the family discovered this, they immediately reported this to staff, clinicians and management responsible for Nicky, and strongly protested the granting of 'unsupervised leave' to Nicky, justifiably fearing for his safety.
Against all common sense, and written and verbal warnings from family, DHB management and clinicians not only continued to allow Nicky unsupervised leave, they proposed to increase it on the very day he went missing.
This was highly negligent on the part of those legally responsible for Nicky's care and the decision was intentionally, not carelessly, made.
Nicky died as a result of this series of decisions.
The level of care given to Nicky breached Clause 114 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Treatment and Assessment) Act 1992, referring to "Neglect…of patients". The law is in place for the purpose of protecting mental health patients, and if it is broken, then we expect authorities to treat such breaches seriously.
Why did we complain to the police about Nicky's death?
It is an unusual step, as Police have traditionally tried to keep out of health and medical treatment issues; but the family feels strongly that:
• The DHB was negligent in their care for Nicky, who they had chosen to take legal responsibility for;
• The mental health system in NZ regularly stuffs up and is almost never made to accept responsibility;
• The law requires health services to take good care of mentally ill patients in their facilities, but is rarely enforced;
• Our son and brother died because the DHB management and psychiatrists ignored our warnings and pleas to keep him safe;
• The Police have a responsibility to enforce all laws, not just those they feel comfortable operating with.
Ends

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