Inquest: Man, 80, died under train at Hampstead station hours after hospital discharged him

Hampstead Underground Station

Hampstead Underground Station - Credit: Archant

A “depressed” 80-year-old man jumped in front of a train at Hampstead Underground Station on the same day that he was discharged from hospital, an inquest has heard.

Retired Islington Council worker Edward Gascoigne asked to be seen by psychiatrists while staying at the Royal Free Hospital on May 8, St Pancras Coroner’s Court was told on Friday.

But his request was denied because he was not regarded as an urgent case.

He was told he would be seen in the community in a few days’ time, the court heard.

But later that day, he died when he stepped in front of a train.

There was a delay in recovering his body as the Tube driver did not initially realise he had hit anyone, and so continued to drive on, the inquest heard.

Det Con Paula Bennett, of British Transport Police, told the court: “The driver came out of the tunnel and heard a loud bang, but he didn’t actually see anyone jump in front of the train.”

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Two days before he died, Mr Gascoigne’s GP Tariq Kaleem prescribed him anti-depressants to help his low mood, the inquest heard.

“He reassured me he would not commit suicide,” Dr Kaleem said in a statement read out to court.

The next day, he asked to be admitted to hospital after confessing to the manager of the retirement complex in Kenton where he lived, Sonia Hardwick, that he felt “frightened” and “depressed”. He was confused, and unsure what month or day it was, the inquest heard.

At the Royal Free, he was seen by A&E doctor Faheem Ali Nanjiani, who referred him to a psychiatric team.

In court, Dr Nanjiani admitted he did not know about an episode three years earlier when Mr Gascoigne had purposefully walked too close to the edge of a cliff while feeling depressed – despite it being documented in his medical notes.

Consequently, he did not tell the psychiatric team Mr Gascoigne’s full mental health history.

Mr Gascoigne was not diagnosed with depression and had never attempted suicide before, the court heard.

Psychiatric liaison nurse Rumbidzai Musodza, who works at the hospital but is employed by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I), said of the decision to discharge him from hospital: “Given the information I had at the time, the risk was insignificant in terms of the risk to himself.”

Assistant coroner Richard Brittain recorded in a narrative verdict: “Some information had not been available to the treating hospital doctors and therefore was not part of the decision with the psychiatric team.

“Had this information been available, it may have resulted in formal assessment, but it is unlikely to have prevented his discharge.”

Dr Brittain ruled that the care he received from the Royal Free Hospital and the C&I was “not neglectful”.

A spokesman for the Royal Free Hospital said: “The Royal Free London would like to send its condolences to the family of Edward Gascoigne and notes the verdict of the coroner, which found no evidence of neglect in the care provided by the Royal Free Hospital.

“As with all unexpected hospital-related deaths, a review was conducted in order to ensure correct procedures were followed.”