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Man died in hostel just two days after being discharged from hospital

‘Frail’ 55-year-old who had stopped eating and drinking was found slumped in bathroom

27 July, 2018 — By Emily Finch

A “LOVELY” man was found dead in his hostel room just two days after being discharged from a hospital accident and emergency department, an inquest heard.

Mark McCraig was found slumped in his bathroom at the supported housing facility in Barnsbury Road on February 10, the hearing at St Pancras Coroner’s Court was told on Wednesday.

Paramedics who were called to the hostel at just after 6am declared Mr McCraig dead. He weighed just 50kg at the time of his death.

The inquest was told that the 55-year-old died from “natural causes” after suffering from bronchopneumonia, a serious lung disease.

He had also been previously diagnosed with a long list of mental health issues including severe depressive episodes and psychosis and suffered from opioid dependency. He was regularly “in and out” of Highgate mental health centre and was assisted by a number of agencies in the borough.

Staff at the hostel run by homelessness charity St Mungo’s had called an ambulance to take Mr McCraig to the A&E department at University College Hospital on two occasions in the week before his death after he was found collapsed.

The court was told Mr McCraig had been discharged from his final hospital visit on February 8 – two days before he was found dead – a few hours after being administered antibiotics through an IV drip.

Phillip Membu, the hostel worker who was the last person to see Mr McCraig alive, described him as a “lovely” man who was pleasant to work with. He added: “That guy was just nice.”

He described Mr McCraig’s condition as “frail” from when he was moved into the hostel at the beginning of February.

He said: “I had to help him change his trousers and clean his faeces. We are not carers but we had to do our best for the clients in the hostel.” He also said Mr McCraig had stopped eating and drinking the week before he died.

Mr Membu was asked by coroner Sarah Bourke if the hospital had provided him with any documents to explain why Mr McCraig had been discharged from A&E but he said: “Nothing like that was handed from the hospital.”

He added that he had asked Mr McCraig whether he required another ambulance on the night before he died because he was suffering from a nosebleed but he said he was told by Mr McCraig he was “all right”.

Louise Cantrell, who is a service investigator working for Camden and Islington NHS Trust, praised the services who worked with Mr McCraig.

She said: “He was a difficult individual but the agencies worked above and beyond.”

She said that since her investigation teams working with vulnerable people are having more meetings with each other to improve communication.

Ms Bourke said: “It’s not possible to tell whether the outcome would have been different for Mark. It’s clear at the time that professionals were working with Mark, trying to improve his physical and mental health.”

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