Geoffrey Hodgkins case: Inquest begins into restraint death

An inquest into the death of a diagnosed schizophrenic who died after being restrained began in Portsmouth today.
Geoffrey Hodgkins, 37, died in November 2004 after he was held face-down by seven staff at St James’s Hospital, after throwing a cup.
They pinned him in the prone position for 25 minutes until he turned blue. Guidance says the technique should be used for no longer than three minutes.
Hodgkins, who was a chronic schizophrenic and epilectic and had spent most of his adult life in hospital, had been restrained in the same position in the months before he died and had suffered breathing problems.
His brother, Bruce Hodgkins, told the jury that he and his family had been given no proper explanation as to what had happened leading up to Hodgkins’ death.
He insisted Hodgkins, whom he visited weekly, had not been violent. “He was a child-like person. If he posed such danger I do not understand why we were not informed by the staff or why he was let out of the ward to come and see me using public transport,” he said.
A report commissioned by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Health Authority, published at the end of last year, criticised the standard of care provided by Portsmouth City Teaching Primary Care Trust.
Among its recommendations was that staff training in how to deal with emergency situations needed to be improved.
The inquest will conclude on 1 February.

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