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CASE OPEN: Police investigate late mum’s treatment at Radlett mental health unit  

 Published on: 19th May 2021   |   By: Jake Levison   |   Category: Uncategorized

Hertfordshire Police are investigating the treatment a woman was given at a Radlett mental unit before she died.

Margaret Molyneux died in hospital in July 2017 after being cared for at Kingfisher Court in Harper Lane. 

The 69-year-old was sectioned under the Mental Health Act earlier that year after a bipolar relapse and admitted to the mental health unit, which is run by the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

A review found Ms Molyneux was given high doses of the anti-psychotic drug, olanzapine, during her time there and her daughter, Petria Foley, believes the medication is what caused her death.

Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio, Ms Foley explained that her mother was given an increasing amount of the medication by staff at Kingfisher Court as her health “very quickly deteriorated”.

Ms Foley added: “She started to have falls and was admitted to hospital with sepsis and pneumonia and was also diagnosed with dysphagia, a problem with swallowing.”

Problems swallowing are associated with anti-psychotic drugs. Ms Foley claims that when Ms Molyneux returned to Kingfisher Court, staff there ignored written advice saying alternative medication should be considered and that she was at risk of choking.

A few weeks later, Ms Molyneux was readmitted to Watford General Hospital, and after choking on her porridge on July 2, she aspirated, and was diagnosed with an aspiration pneumonia that her doctors advised she was unlikely to recover from. She died three days later. 

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We continue to offer our condolences to Ms Molyneux’s family for their loss. 

“We shared the findings of our investigation into Ms Molyneux’s care with her family and are currently helping the police with their enquiries.”

Hertfordshire Police’s investigation is ongoing.

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