Geoffrey Hodgkins’ death: Coroner to recommend restraint guidance

A man with mental illness died after being restrained because hospital staff failed to check his vital signs and there was a delay in starting resuscitation.
An inquest returned a narrative verdict yesterday into the death in 2004 of Geoffrey Hodgkins, who was a diagnosed schizophrenic. Hodgkins died after being held face-down by seven staff at St James’s Hospital in Portsmouth for 25 minutes. Guidelines say the prone technique should only be used for a maximum of three minutes.

The jury in the two-week hearing listed several factors that contributed towards his death including the use of towels during restraint, which may have reduced oxygen intake, and a delay in calling an ambulance. The jury also said there had been a lack of training for all staff in control and restraint and CPR and that Hodgkins did not have an individualised restraint plan.
Coroner David Horsley said he intended to make recommendations on the use of restraint.

More information

Independent inquiry into the treatment and care of Geoffrey Hodgkins

Essential information on mental health services

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Geoffrey Hodgkins case: Inquest begins into restraint death



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