An emergency ward sister was so concerned about a troubled police officer’s mental state that she asked for oxygen tubing to be removed from her cubicle, an inquest heard.
South Yorkshire Police officer Andrea Jayne Shelton, 45, was found hanging at Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield at 4am on January 19 2011, after she had been admitted for surgery after self harming.
Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard Mrs Shelton woke up worrying about work in the early hours of January 17 2011 before slashing her wrists and groin at the home in Low Ackworth near Pontefract she shared with her husband Paul – also a serving police officer.
The inquest heard how Mrs Shelton was not referred for a mental health assessment by the doctor who treated her at Pontefract A&E because she was not stable enough. Sister Jessica Moxon, of the Medical Assessment Unit at Pontefract Hospital, was so concerned about Mrs Shelton’s mental state that she asked staff to remove oxygen tubing and other equipment from the cubicle, and made sure there was a member of staff to keep an eye on her at all times.
The inquest heard how Mrs Shelton ‘just cried’ when she was asked by Sister Moxon why she had self harmed, and nodded when she was asked if it was because of work. She told Sister Moxon that she ‘just wanted to go to sleep.’
Sister Moxon said she told the nurse she handed over the shift to, that Mrs Shelton needed to be referred for a mental health assessment. Sister Moxon told the inquest she would have phoned the mental health team herself had she not found the groin injuries. But she said her experience was, that they would have been unlikely to come unless the patient was medically fit for discharge.
Later on January 17 Mrs Shelton was transferred to Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield where she underwent surgery the following day on wounds to her groin area.
The inquest previously heard Mrs Shelton’s mental state was not assessed at Pinderfields. Her husband Paul had wanted to stay at his wife’s bedside that night, but he was not allowed because it was a women-only ward.
At 4am on January 19 2011, a night nurse discovered Mrs Shelton hanging by the neck by a dressing gown cord tied to a shower pipe in a bathroom at Pinderfields Hospital.
Reading from Mr Shelton’s statement on Monday, Coroner David Hinchliff, said: “You said her treatment was diabolical. You said it was as though you were somebody else’s problem. You feel as if someone had listened to you and let you stay with Jayne until she could have got some help from the crisis team, that Jayne’s death could have been avoided.” Proceeding.